FCDA demolishes AIT’s ‘building’ in Abuja

Raymond Dokpesi
Raymond Dokpesi

The Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Abuja, on Tuesday demolished structure belonging to Daar Communications, owners of African Independent Television (AIT) and RayPower FM.

The structure, located at Kpaduma Hill, Asokoro District of Abuja was brought down by bulldozers early Tuesday.

DAAR Communications, a private broadcasting organisation in Nigeria, was founded by Raymond Dokpesi in 2007.

A statement signed by the coordinator of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, Umar Shuaibu, said only a ‘portion of a fence’ was demolished.

It added that the purpose of the demolition ”was not to upset the Management of DAAR Communications but to remove a portion of a fence around the AIT premises that legally belongs to other citizens of the country”.

He said the demolished fence was causing’obstruction’ to neighbours.

Mr Shuaibu said the demolition came after the Council failed to reach an amicable agreement with Mr Dokpesi.

He said the firm failed to “voluntarily remove the illegal fence and other structures”.

He explained that Mr Dokpesi visited the FCT Minister in November 2018 to resolve the dispute regarding the actual size of land legally allocated to DAAR Communications “as against the area covered by their perimeter fence after which both parties at the end reached an agreement”.

“The (was an) illegal encroachment into plots of lands belonging to many Nigerians and the refusal by the Management of DAAR Communications to abide by the agreement reached between it and the FCT Administration. Officials from the Department of Development Control of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council led by the Director, today removed a portion of the fence around the premises of the Africa Independent Television (AIT) in the Asokoro District of Abuja.

“It is important to let the public know that this removal was not intended to inflict any pain on the owners of the property but rather to enable other citizens to have access to their legitimate properties. It is also a culmination of a series of meetings between the Management of DAAR Communications, owners of AIT, and the Federal Capital Territory administration to end many years of misunderstanding.

“Specifically, in November last year, the Management of DAAR Communications led by High Chief Raymond Dokpesi paid a courtesy visit to the FCT Minister and they were received on his behalf by Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister, Bashir Mai-Borno, who led the FCTA team made up of relevant directors and others in the discussions.

“The purpose of the discussions was to resolve the protracted dispute regarding the actual size of land legally allocated to DAAR Communications as against the area covered by their perimeter fence. The whole idea was for both parties to mutually agree to reach a settlement that would bring about a permanent solution and forge ahead for the development of the FCT and the nation at large.

“The FCT Administration was therefore left with no other option than to do the needful by removing the illegal structures. With this removal, other allottees are now free to access their plots of land,” the official said.

When PREMIUM TIMES contacted Mr Dokpesi’s spokesperson, Bayo Bodunrin, he confirmed the report.

He, however, said he could not speak on the issue. He said only the company’s Group Managing Director, Tony Akiotu, is authorised to comment on the matter.

Efforts to reach Mr Akiotu for comments were unsuccessful as he did not respond to calls and text messages sent to his known phone number.

Mr Dokpesi, the owner of Nigeria’s first private radio station, is facing trial for alleged diversion of N2.1 billion received from the office of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

He denies the allegations against him. He has also accused the federal government of defamation of character.

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