Residents of Katampe Extension, Abuja’s diplomatic district, have called on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister to take immediate action to save the district from illegal land grabbers.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, the President of the Katampe Extension Resident Association, Alhaji Mohammed Gimba, said the land grabbers have taken over all available green areas, open spaces, and buffer zones in the district.
“As we speak, the district does not have a school, hospital, fire service, or even a police station. Areas designated for these facilities and services are under contention and many have been encroached upon. People are laying claims to the land, some have been illegally built up. The level of impunity is mind-boggling!” Gimba said.
Gimba appealed to the FCT Minister to come to the aid of the residents, noting that the district is designated as a diplomatic zone and should be an example to other districts in Abuja.
“Unfortunately, this is not the case. It is gradually becoming a commercial hub and a slum,” he said.
The Vice President of the Katampe Extension Resident Association, Dr. Austin Maho, also spoke on the issue, noting that the former FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, had visited the district in September 2021 and raised concerns over illegal development in and around ECOWAS estate. Bello subsequently withdrew all building approvals in affected areas.
However, Maho said the land grabbers have ignored Bello’s directive and continued to develop the areas illegally. He called on the current FCT Minister to take decisive action against the land grabbers and restore the district to its original master plan.
What can the FCT Minister do?
The FCT Minister has the power to take a number of steps to address the issue of land grabbing in the diplomatic district, including:
- Demolishing illegal structures: The Minister can order the demolition of all illegal structures in the district, regardless of who owns them.
- Prosecute land grabbers: The Minister can also prosecute the perpetrators of land grabbing under the FCT Land Use Act.
- Review and strengthen land administration procedures: The Minister can review and strengthen land administration procedures in the FCT to make it more difficult for land grabbers to operate.
- Create a land bank: The Minister can create a land bank to provide affordable land to residents and businesses in the FCT.
The Minister can also work with other stakeholders, such as the police and the judiciary, to ensure that land grabbers are brought to justice and that the district is restored to its original master plan.