The Apo Hills Landlords Residents Association has appealed to the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, to shelve the planned demolition of the illegal estates in Apo-Tapi and Lugbe.
The association’s Secretary-General, Mr. Miracle Uduma, made the appeal while briefing newsmen during a peaceful protest by members of the association at the Crown Prince Estate office in Asokoro, Abuja.
Recall that FCT Administration had on March 10, lamented the proliferation of illegal housing estates and other developments along the Idu Train Station, Apo Tapi, and Lugbe areas of AMAC.
Uduma said the landlords of the Apo hills who had been in the area for over six years were deceived by the developers that they had obtained original land title documents from the relevant agencies of the FCT Administration.
“We are here to appeal to the Federal Capital Territory Administration to come to our aid because we have been lied to and all of our investments are about to go down. This is a call for help because we have been lied to and right now our lives are in danger. Until March 10, we did not know the truth about what was going on in our homes.
” We are totally uninformed about the dealings of most of these people who claimed to be developers who turned out to be land grabbers and it is a very big issue. We got to know about the situation when the Director of the Department of Development Control, FCTA, Mukhtar Galadima came on National Television and said that they were going to demolish illegal houses in Apo, which is where we reside.
“Until that interview by Galadima, we never knew or heard any idea that those lands had no title. All the developers, all the Estate Owners have been playing us all along, they gave us falsified documents, claiming that they have land title in this place and encouraged us to build,” he said.
The secretary, who said most of the residents of the area were retirees, expressed the readiness of the residents to pay contravention fees to the FCT to enable them to retain their houses instead of being demolished.
Also, Mrs. Lami Ayuba, the Chairman, the FCT Chapter of the National Institute of Town Planners, advised those who wanted to acquire property in the FCT and anywhere in the country to ask for the Allocation Letter, Land Use Approval, Building Plan Approval, and Site Plan.
Ayuba also urged those who needed to acquire property to always get at least two professionals to verify the property before the transaction was concluded.
She revealed that there were lots of desperate syndicates in the city posing as government officials, defrauding the people.
” They can even enter government offices and pretend that they are officials because they have arranged with developers to pose as staff of FCTA and clear their papers. So, we are not even sure that the offices they enter are legitimate offices, or that the staff that attends to them are actually legitimate officers.
“There is a process for approval; there is a process for land verification that you are supposed to go through but the problem is that most of the landlords at the point of buying these properties don’t contact professionals to do due diligence,” she said.
She called on the FCTA to do something urgently to address the growing incidences of land grabbers by harnessing the energies of developers and channeling them into positive use.