Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The FCT Administration has placed a caveat on properties whose cases are already in courts as a step towards recovering the N29 billion debt owed it by property owners in the Federal Capital Territory.
The FCT Director of Information and Communication, Muhammad Hazat Sule said the caveat was to deny such titleholders access to the property and eventually forfeit same to the government.
He said the administration would continue with the prosecution of defaulters in courts preparatory to obtaining a court order for the forfeiture of the affected properties.
The caveat would also safeguard such properties from being tampered with, through covert attempt to sell or transfer ownership, because the matter is being heard in court.
He said the FCTA took these steps to drive home the point that it was desirous of recovering the over N29 billion ground rents owed it by property owners.
The implication is that a caveat when placed on any property, whether developed or undeveloped, and even if ground rent fully cleared, a written application must be submitted, and approval obtained before it can be lifted.
He said the FCT Administration was determined to recover all ground rent debts owed it by property owners in Abuja, adding all necessary procedure will be followed to achieve this.
“Since the Administration has commenced prosecution of the defaulting titleholders in spite of several appeals from the FCT Administration, the only thing that can stop the progression of this action is for the affected property owners to clear their outstanding debts.
“The government is in court to seek for an order to force debtors to clear their debts or forfeit the affected property, since they are recalcitrant in paying the debt, despite several warnings,” Sule said.
FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr. Adesola Olusade recently inaugurated a debt recovery committee with the mandate to recover the outstanding debts owed the FCT Administration with particular interest in ground rents and other sundry fees in the land administration as well as other Land related departments.
The government last month, announced its preparedness to prosecute about 413 defaulting property owners by the end of August 2022.
The government insisted that since all entreaties had failed, it had no other option than to commence the prosecution of the first batch of the defaulting property owners.
The Coordinating Committee on the Recovery of Outstanding Ground Rent and Other Related Charges in the FCT under the Chairmanship of the FCT General Counsel/Secretary Legal Services Secretariat, Mohammed Babangida Umar, assured the public that there would be no sacred cows as the law would surely take its course, because the only language it would understand was for the debtors to clear their outstanding debt.