FCT: I stopped signing C of Os because I don’t trust the ones they are bringing to me – Wike

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…expands scope of work of  Taskforce on issue of C of O, Mass Housing and Area Councils to include Land Swap and sale of government houses.

*Photo: Wike*

 Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Barrister Ezenwo Nyesom Wike has reiterated the resolve of the FCT Administration to sanitize the process of issuing Certificate of Occupancy, C of O in the FCT.

  • One of the reasons I have stopped signing is because I don’t trust those C of Os they are bringing for me to sign. I don’t want to sign a C of O that has been given to another person.”

The FCT Minister stated this during an interactive session with Estate Developers and Residents’ Associations in the FCT at the FCDA Conference Hall in Abuja on Tuesday, November 21, 2023.

In his opening remarks the Senior Special Assistant to the Minister on Land, urban and Regional Planning who is also the Chairman of the Ministerial Task Force on Issuance of C of O for Mass Housing and the Recovery of Land Use Contravention fees said the meeting was called at the behest of the FCT Minister in order to resolve disagreement between the Task Force and the developers and residents’ association for the payment of N5 million Naira as fees for the collection of C of Os.

The FCT Minister lamented that the issuance of C of O in the FCT was enmeshed in a lot of controversy which sometimes led to crises. He said, “One of the reasons I have stopped signing is because I don’t trust those C of Os they are bringing for me to sign. I don’t want to sign a C of O that has been given to another person.”

 He therefore vowed that very tough decisions will be taken to resolve the crisis and restore the integrity of the system, however after consideration of requests raised by residents at the meeting, Barrister Wike extended the period of time to pay for the C of O from 3 to 4 months.

He reminded the participants at the meeting, that the FCT as a non-oil State relies on revenue generation for development activities and warned that the four-month period would not be extended.

He said, “I want to stand firm and tell you this; I’ve ended at four months. It will not go beyond four months.”

On the suggestion by the residents that the flat rate of N5 million for the issuance of C of Os should be reviewed to reflect the size and location of the property, the Minister insisted that a C of O is a business and security document which is not necessarily graded according to the size of the property or its location, and insisted that a flat rate of N5 million must be paid for its collection. He however hinted at the possibility of a review of this sum.

He said, “If you want to have a C of O, which is a security and business document, it is not graded based on one bedroom flat or two-bedroom flat.

The Minister also stated that he will seek the approval of the President for C of Os to be linked to the National Identity Number, NIN for ease of identification and other issues of taxation and security.

Also speaking on the prudence adopted in the management of finances, Barrister Wike revealed that the FCT Administration in the last three months has saved not less than N110 billion for the FCT.

He said the money will be attached to projects to accelerate their completion.

The Minister said, “Three months in office, I can tell you authoritatively, I have saved not less than N110 billion for FCT and this money will be attached to projects so that people will see indeed that the taxes we are paying is being utilized for the interest of the people”.

He also disclosed that the FCT would be rolling out its buses and taxi scheme in the next one month, adding that the menace of one-chance would soon be a thing of the past in the FCT

 “These buses and taxis will ply all the routes in Asokoro, Maitama, we are kicking out Keke Napep at least in these areas. Some of these Keke Napep are agents of criminals”, Barrister Wike said.

As part of plans to create more infrastructure in the Area Councils and discourage people from migration into the city, the Minister said, “If we have the buses, people will prefer to come from their areas and come to work and go back”.

He therefore urged FCT residents to cooperate with the Administration by paying their taxes in order to improve service delivery.

The Minister said, “It is painful but it’s an inconvenience that we must face.”

 In their separate remarks, the residents commended the FCT Minister over the steps he has taken to sanitize land administration in the FCT.

While appealing for the review of the C of O fees, some residents also pleaded with the Minister to consider their plights as civil servants and retirees, who have taken mortgage facilities from the banks and such do not have the funds to pay for the C of Os.

 Other concerns raised by the residents also include the absence of infrastructure in the Estates, security related issues and other fraudulent practices by estate developers in connivance with some government officials.

The meeting was attended by the Senior special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Land, Urban and Regional Planning, Estate Surveyor Michael Chinda, the Executive Director FCDA, Engr. Shehu Ahmad Hadi, Directors, Heads of Agencies and other senior officials of the FCT Administration.

 ….MINISTER EXPANDS SCOPE, TIME OF WORK FOR TASK FORCE ON LAND MATTERS

–         INCLUDES LAND SWAP AND SALE OF GOVERNMENT HOUSES

The FCT Minister, Barr. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike has expanded the scope of work of the Taskforce on issue of C of O, Mass Housing and Area Councils to include Land Swap and sale of government houses.

 In the same vein, the Minister has extended the work period of the taskforce and submission of its report from one month to two months to accommodate the new task, explaining that there was no need for a separate taskforce as the existing one could carry out the addition duty.

In a brief meeting held at the Minister’s conference room on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, Barr. Wike said the expansion of the taskforce was necessitated by concerns raised on the FCTA Land swap and the sale of government houses projects, adding that the move was part plans for a total cleanup of the FCTA.

He said: “We have had a lot of complains and we want to know details of the Land Swap and then the sale of federal government houses. There are so many complaints. There some houses that were built that have been abandoned. What is the position? Let us get the true documentation of the houses that are sold and the receipt of payment. Which have not been sold and which are being built but not completed, that are abandoned and are under the FCTA through the FCDA.

“This is important in order for us to have a total clean up. They are going to do it together. Your function will extend to this area of land swap. Look at the areas where government and other people have had an agreement on land swap, look at the agreement, how favourable it is and make your recommendations and also the sale of government houses under the FCDA”.

The Minister said though the job is tasking, which was why he extended the time by one month, he expects the taskforce to do a good job and produce a good result.

 He urged all the agencies involved, especially Abuja Geographic Information Systems AGIS, Development Control and the Department of Lands, who are also members, to work together with the taskforce to ensure the success of the assignment while also enjoining the taskforce to involve private valuers to expediate its work.

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