The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), says it has uncovered 6,000 uncompleted buildings across the territory.
The administration said it had also intensified efforts to curb the rising cases of uncompleted buildings in the city centre and the territory.
The Director, Department of Development Control of FCTA, Alhaji Muktar Galadima, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Sunday, in Abuja.
Galadima, who is a Town Planner, explained that the administration, in conjunction with other relevant departments had sent out letters to the owners of all the uncompleted buildings.
He said that the letters was for the owners to complete their structures and put them into their designated use, based on the original master plan.
He said that the department held an interactive session with the owners of the uncompleted buildings and educated them on the consequences of having uncompleted structures all over the city and territory.
“Some of them have responded favourably and the department conducted integrity tests on some of the structures, while some others have made efforts to complete the structures.
” This is how far we have gone. As regards to the issue of uncompleted buildings, with all sense of modesty, I can speak authoritatively about it.
” I know that we have over 6,000 uncompleted buildings in Abuja and the Federal Capital Territory Administration is making some efforts to stem the tide of rising cases of uncompleted buildings in the territory.”
On the issue of unoccupied houses, Galadima, said, ”unoccupied buildings have consequences on the development of the city.
” Firstly, they lead to change in the original designated use for that particular plot because a lot of people believe the non-occupancy of these buildings was due to the high rent rates in the city.
” So as a result, individuals cannot afford to rent such structures or houses for their own use.
”Consequently, it is the corporate entities that come to rent such structures as either offices, shopping facilities, eateries or other use.
” So as a result of that, this non-occupation of completed houses brings about changes in land use.
” Secondly, it has also been reported that some of the native security men attached to some of these unoccupied houses sometimes allow night renters.
” For instance, somebody will come in the night and say please let me pay and pass the night and in the morning he goes out.
”And some of these people, even though we don’t have statistics, are of questionable characters.
” So, you can see the security angle to this issue of unoccupied completed buildings or houses,” the director said.
He said the department would conduct a survey to know the statistics of unoccupied completed houses in the territory.
Galadima said that in city management, new challenges came up every day and the department would continue to find solutions to them.
He reminded developers and the public that Abuja was a planned city established by law.
”Whatever you intend to put up in terms of building or construction, you must get valid title documents from the FCTA and not from any local chief.
” And when you get these title documents, then you must secure your building plan approval to make sure that whatever you are doing is in line with the provisions of the law,” he said.
Galadima said that there were laws guiding development in the FCT, including the FCT Act of 1976, the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Law and the Abuja Master Plan.
” So, whatever you intend to do must be guided by the provisions of these laws,” he said.
The director emphasised the need for the department to be automated so that it could do business with ease.
“If we are automated, from anywhere in the world, you can submit your building plan and get your approval.
“By the time the department is automated and the process of development control activities is automated; we can do things with ease.
” And then we will generate more revenue and people will have that satisfaction that yes, they can get approval within a short period of time.”
An Abuja resident, Malam Abubakar Ibrahim, called on the FCT Administration to make a policy that would regulate rents in the FCT to reduce the number of unoccupied houses.
” If you move round the city from the Central Area Garki, to Wuse II and Jabi, you will discover that the number of unoccupied houses are many because of high rents.
“Many people prefer to stay in the satellite towns because they can’t afford to rent a house within the city,” he said.
Mr Steve Aborisade, a company worker who stays at Zuba, decried the lack of regulation in the city’s management of rents and other basic social amenities.
He appealed to stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the problem, ”so that more people can live in the city at affordable costs.”
By Salisu Sani-Idris