Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has stepped up plans to recover N29 billion being the ground rent owed it by land allotees in the FCT.
The General Counsel and Secretary of the Legal Services Secretariat of the FCTA, Mohammed Babangida Umar, disclosed this at the end of the FCT Executive Committee meeting that was chaired by the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello.
He said the exercise would be carried out through the instrumentality of the Land Use Act which allows the recovery of ground rents through the Magistrate Court.
He added the recovered amount could be used to build infrastructure and improve services for the teeming residents of the FCT who require these services and whose welfare is the cardinal objective and concern of the present administration.
“It is our intention that very soon, debtors and the people who are recalcitrant, who have refused to pay their ground rents and other rents due and payable to the FCT Administration, will be made to do so by being sued to court and if they don’t pay, may forfeit their titles on such land,” he said.
He also urged residents who are yet to pay their ground rents to do so or risk the prescribed penalties, saying: “When this land is given to you, there are terms and conditions attached to the allocation. One of them and fundamentally is for you to pay your rents. If you don’t pay your rents and you owe for years, what else do you expect?
“It is like a tenant who lives in a rented apartment and who simply tells his landlord, I’m not paying. What does he expect? And if you need services on the land, you want road, you want water, you want refuse collection and you are not paying your rent, how then do you expect the government to provide the services?
“We know that budgetary allocations are not enough and you have a duty to pay. After all, these lands are worth a lot of money. So why don’t you just take a bit of it and simply pay your liability?”
The Director-General of the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Dr. Idris Abass, also submitted briefings on the flooding situation in the nation’s capital.