Land grab: Abuja indigenes want Bala Mohammed prosecuted

Abuja City Gate Photo: logbaby.com

Natives of the Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, have asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to immediately arrest the former Minister of FCT, Bala Mohammed, and top officials of the Abuja Geographic Information System, AGIS, and Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, over the Senate’s revelations that they illegally allocated land to their cronies in green areas within Maitama district extension of Abuja.

In a statement on Sunday, the umbrella body of the natives, Original Inhabitants Development Association of Abuja, OIDA, said “the allocation of land in green areas meant for natural conservation and tourism is a breach of public trust and gross violation of the Abuja master plan by the ex-minister, Bala, who coincidentally was charged with protecting such lands.”

According to the statement signed by OIDA President, Danladi Jeji, this has vindicated “our earlier stance against renaming of Maitama District Extension as Goodluck Jonathan District in 2012 because we discovered that it was meant to hoodwink ex-President Goodluck Jonathan into unknowingly validating massive corruption in the illegal sharing of land allocations in the district. We wondered then, why such a district was not named after the founder of the city, General Murtala Muhammed but named after a sitting president.”

The Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory chaired by Senator Dino Melaye had during the 2016 budget defence of the FCT on Friday, revealed that former President Goodluck Jonathan and 29 others were allocated plots of land, in green areas meant for flora, fauna and tourism activities around Maitama district extension, in gross violation of the Abuja Master plan.

The Senate committee threatened to order “immediate revocation” of the affected plots of land located in the Maitama district extension. It said the plots of land deliberately allocated to Jonathan and others in a green area fell short of the expectations of the minister and other public officers in the FCT administration.

Senator Melaye listed other beneficiaries of similar plots to include late National Security Adviser, Andrew Owoeye Azazi; former Justice Minister and Attorney-General of the Federation, Muhammed Adoke;‎ former Bauchi State governor, Isa Yuguda; and the acting National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus.

He said the committee on FCT visited the area and saw workers erecting structures on the plots but directed that work should immediately stop on construction of buildings in the area.

OIDA expressed disappointment with AGIS and FCDA officials who kept mute while the rich and powerful violated the green areas but are quick to pounce on poor natives and residents who do same knowingly or unknowingly.

The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack, order arrest and prosecution of the Director of AGIS, Jamila Tangaza, and Executive Secretary of the FCDA, Adamu Ismaila, for negligence of duty and failure to provide professional advice to the FCTA political leadership then.

The natives commended the Senator Dino Melaye-led Senate Committee on FCT for accurately unravelling the land fraud and urged them to be speedy in their investigation of the land swap, Centenary City projects and other land policies of the ex-minister, Bala Mohammed.

OIDA also says the directive by the current minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello, that land allocation in Abuja should be issued only through the FCT Land Allocation Committee rather than his office, is in tandem with the act setting up the FCT, hence he should be encouraged.

The group also said it is compiling a dossier on serial violations of land allocation policies and Abuja Master plan by top civil servants and politicians in the FCT administration for purpose of sending a formal petition to the EFCC and other anti-corruption agencies.


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