Abuja estate residents protest citing of school, demand title documents from property developer

The Association of Home Owners and Residents (AHOAR), Paradise Estate in Dape district of Abuja, have protested the citing of a school for less privilege children in the estate, which they say is contrary to the assurance of the property developer and the Department of Development Control of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC). 

Addressing journalists in Abuja Friday, during the protest by more than 100 residents of the estate, Chairman of AHOAR, Mr Oche Samson, said that many residents of the estate have lived more than three years without acquiring the title documents of their homes from the developer, even as he lamented that houses in the estate where constructed with inferior materials. 

He said: “One thing I want you to know is that there was a stop work order from the development control on the property being constructed for a school. They came to tell the estate that the owners of the building unit were not allowed to use it for a different purpose and painted the stop work order. However, without any notice for them to retrieve the stop work, the property owner came and erased the stop work order and continued constructing the school.

“We have tried to reach out to the property developer and the property owner through several forum to express our concern to the effect that as AHOAR, we do not appreciate a school in the estate. It will not be good for the residents, students and security officials of the estate.

“Unfortunately, as you can see, we came here today to discover that work is still going on. So, we want to tell the property owner that with the injunction that came from the Development Control, they should stop work on the school and other activities that is not serving a residential purpose. We are ready to follow it to any extent, because we have invested in the property. It belongs to all of us, so one person cannot come and distort what the initial purpose was meant for.

 “When we bought this property from the developer, one of the terms and conditions given was that it will be used for a residential purpose. That was very clear. But right now, a lot of people are trying to distort the property.”

Continuing, he said: “Another issue we are concerned about is our title document. We were promised that within three weeks of the handover of the property to us, we will get our title document. However, many of us have been in this estate for over three years now, without getting the title document. It has been one story to another and we want to put an end to that. 

“We have heard stories of people investing in properties, but lose the properties at the end of the day; as a result of not having the title document. That is why we are pushing to our developer to do the needful. He promised us three weeks, but this is now three years without receiving positive response from him. We want to avoid a situation whereby someone will come and eject us from the property as a result of not having title document.

“Also, if you look at the estate, it looks good from the outside. But on the inside, you will find out we lack many things. We lack fencing at the perimeter, but this is one of the things the developer promised us. We don’t have a field for recreational activities, but this is something that was also promised us. Many of the structures were built with inferior materials and were destroyed by rainstorm, but the developer has left the owners to repair it themselves. 

“We had a meeting with the management of the estate two weeks ago and they promised many things, only for them to go behind us to approve the establishment of a school in the estate. It is an indictment on the part of the developer to go to Development Control to approve a school in the estate, without consulting us the residents, especially as the developer initially told us that he didn’t design the estate for a school and also didn’t give his permission. 

“So, we are upset that he went behind us to seek the approval of the development control. As law abiding citizens, we will follow legal processes to ensure that things are done rightly in the estate. We held a meeting and had representatives from the school and told them categorically that we will not accept a school here. We also wrote to Development Control and they responded by putting the stop work notice. However, after this press conference, we will go to court as a last resort. As an association, we should all work together, not some people taking independent decisions. 

“We have about 450 units in this estate, including the extensions, though some of them are not occupied yet, but more than 80 per cent are occupied. During the rainstorm, almost a quarter of the houses were damaged because of inferior materials that couldn’t withstand the storm.  

“The school management claimed during our meeting that the former EXCO did not make it clear to them that the people did not want a school, so that is one of the reasons we decided to make this press conference. With this, nobody will have any dark area. It’s well known that this place is residential and not meant for a school.”

Also speaking, a resident of the estate, Mrs Leelee Bukpor, said that the developer wants to scam the property owners by refusing to give them title documents.

She said: “My grouse is that I paid for my property in 2015 and moved into this estate in 2018. From several meetings we’ve had with the developer, the management promised that they were going to give us our title documents, which they said is going to be deed of assignment. However, early this year, after the lockdown, the management said we should come to the office in batches to pick up the title documents.

“However, when we went there, the documents they gave us were deed of sub-lease, which makes us tenants, instead of house owners. We refused to sign the documents. In fact, my neighbour called her lawyer, who read her document to discover that it was the same thing as mine and has the same explanation to that effect of our being tenants, instead of house owners.

“Because my neighbour is part of the EXCO, she informed the other Excos and that made us not to sign that deed of sub lease that was given to us. The estate management didn’t explain to us. They were just going to scam us by making us sign something that only God knows what that would have taken us to.”

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