Jessica Odemwingie in Abuja
Residents of Winning Clause Estate, Gwanripa in Abuja have petitioned the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Alhaji Muhammad Bello; Inspector-General of Police (IG) and the Department of State Services (DSS) over the invasion of the estate by some gunmen recently.
They also appealed to the authorities to investigate how former FCT Minister, Bala Mohamm edsuspiciously reallocated a plot of land with over 300 duplexes to a disputable estate developer, Winning Clause Limited.
In a letter dated July 15, 2016, addressed to the minister and the security agencies, which were made available to journalists in Abuja, the residents said their action became necessary in view of the unwholesome development which the estate developer, the management of Winning Clause Limited, had foisted on them in the past few years.
The petition added that the residents became alarmed when the management of the estate relieved the security company they contracted of their assignment and unilaterally employed an unknown company, whose staff no one could vouch for.
According to them, “Sadly and suddenly, we recall that some high profile and yet unresolved dangerous robbery attacks started taking place-two dangerous attacks on home of the association’s general secretary. ‘’Indeed, we recall that some members of the task force created by the estate developer have been interrogated at the Gwarinpa Police Station while the police were investigating one of the robbery attacks.’’
The residents added that on May 28, a resident,
who owns House A35 in the estate, Mr. Okonkwo, also reported that the Managing Director of Winning Clause, Mrs. Oby Okwubanego, caused some gunmen to invade his premises and beat up his private security guard while her thugs shot severally, adding that the incident was reported to the Gwarinpa Police Station.
Requesting the minister and the security agencies to stop every attempt to endanger the security of lives and property in the estate, the residents also questioned the process leading to revocation of Plot 67.
The estate, which was originally allocated as a mass housing estate to ProForm West Africa and is run by Saraha Homes Limited, according to the petitioners, was reallocated by the administration of former Minister of FCT, Mohammed, after the estate had been fully built to Winning Clause.
They said the resultant legal tussle that ensued later led to a consent judgment at the FCT High Court which ceded the estate to Winning Clause, saying Winning Clause had refused to obey the consent judgment.
According to the petition, “Since the takeover of the estate by Winning Clause effectively from 2012, the estate has not known peace.
‘’The residents have suffered imposition of undue charges, taxes and thuggery. On several occasions, members of the estate have lodged reports at the Gwarinpa Police Station concerning unwholesome activities of the estate developer.
‘’We have argued against her imposition of administrative charge of N99, 000 per annum aside the agreed N120, 000 service charge annually. But the Developer had on June 8, 2016, locked in many residents for failure to pay the administrative charge,’’ they said.
The residents further stated that they had done everything to ensure that the estate developer takes the necessary steps like other mass housing estates to perfect their approvals by the Development Control, but all to no avail, adding that the developer had kept the issue of approval in abeyance to enable her continue to milk the residents and threaten them into submitting to further taxes.
The resident said their woes started when between 2009 and 2010, they bought properties under the Mass Housing Project from one Alhaji Kabiru Haruna, then Chairman/CEO of Saraha Homes Limited, saying the company executed the right to market the estate having entered into agreement with ProForm West Africa Limited which had the Right of Occupancy on Plot 67 Kafe District at the time.
They added: ‘’It was however surprising to many property owners that a company called Winning Clause Limited came to the scene in 2012, with claims that it had been allocated the Estate.
‘’At that time, many of the property owners had moved into the estate with a thriving residents association that was working closely with Saraha Homes Limited and the Department of Development Control to regularise all outstanding issues in line with Mass Housing procedures.
While appealing to the minister to investigate how Winning Cluase got the plot allocation, the residents said an urgent intervention of the FCT authorities is needed to save the residents from incessant harassment, unwholesome imposition of bills and refusal to process building plan approval which is being used as a weapon to extort money from the property owners.