Disquiet as Wike revokes 165 plots in Abuja

  • Says owners failed to develop them
  • Peter Obi, Udo Udoma, Ufot Ekaette, Liyel Imoke, Nda-Isaiah, 160 others lose assets
  • It’s uncalled for, say analysts

A host of prominent Nigerians have been affected by the decision of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, to revoke the ownership of some lands in Abuja, the nation’s capital city.

Wike on Thursday announced the revocation of 167 plots of land in some highbrow districts of Abuja.

Some of the notable Nigerians affected by the revocation order include the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, Peter Obi, former Senate Chief Whip, Udoma Udo Udoma; former Cross River Governor, Liyel Imoke; former Minister of Niger Delta Ministry, Ufot Joseph Ekaette and late publisher of Leadership newspaper, Sam Nda-Isaiah.

Areas affected are Maitama, Gudu, Wuye which had the highest revocation, 41; Katampe, Katampe Extension, Wuse 2, Jabi, Utako, Idu Industrial zone, and Asokoro which had the second highest revocation, 39.

In a notice issued on Thursday night in Abuja, the administration said the plots were revoked due to the refusal or failure of their allottees to develop them.

“The Federal Capital Territory Administration hereby informs the general public that the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory has, in the exercise of the powers conferred on him under Section 28(5)(a) & (b) of the Land Use Act 1978, revoked the under listed plots with names and titles as reflected in our records for continued contravention of the terms of development of the Right of Occupancy to wit non-development”, the administration said in the notice signed by the Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola.

Some of the plots revoked in Maitama district A05 had names like Liyel Imoke, Musa Aboki Egu, Hassan Hadejia and Ishaya Baba.

In Jabi, some of the plots revoked had allottees such as Sam Nda-Isaiah, Donubari Josephine Kogbara, while Katampe district had Peter Gregory Obi, BUA international among others.

In other areas, those revoked had names as Julius Berger Nigeria, Honeywell Construction, Uffot Joseph Ekaette, Shittu Mohammed, Udoma Udo Udoma, Kanu Agabi, Niki Niki Tobi, Ishaku Bello, and others.

Wike on his first day as the Minister of FCT vowed to revoke any land contravening the Abuja Land Use Act no matter those involved.

He promised to restore the master plan of the territory and revoke plots that had not been developed or those whose ground rents had not been paid for years.

He had consequently given a two-week grace to allottees to pay their ground rents or risk revocation of their allocations.

Consequently, political and economic analysts picked holes in Wike’s threat and strong message to property owners in the FCT.

Wike, at a press conference shortly after his inauguration as the new FCT minister, announced to the bewildered Abuja residents that he had come to the capital city to demolish buildings and revoke land titles, warning that he would step on toes.

“If you know you have built where you are not supposed to build, it will go down. Be it a minister anywhere, be it an ambassador… if you know you have developed where you are not supposed to, your house will go down.

And those who have been given certificates of occupancy (C of O) and failed to develop, and they have become land speculators, the land is gone. I will revoke them,” Wike said at the conference.

Wike had warned that “those who have taken over the green areas to build, sorry. The green areas must come back; so, if you know anyone involved, that has taken over the green areas or parks and turned them to restaurants, we will not accept that.”

He added, “If your father has done that, sorry, if your mother has done that, sorry; there’s nothing I can do. It will go down.

The minister noted that there was refuse everywhere, asking, “Those who are paid for refuse collection, what are they doing?”

This threat had sparked unsavoury comments from analysts who said that the new minister acted true to type as he seemed to have gone into action before thinking through what his plans for the capital city were.

“Our government and its officials are known for always acting before thinking and also threatening and issuing warnings to the people. President Tinubu announced the fuel subsidy removal without first thinking about how to implement it. Wike is going the same way,” a professor at the Department of New Public Management, Nasarawa State University, Charles Nwekeaku, said.

“How much of the Abuja master plan does Wike know? What I think Wike should have done first and foremost was to sit down, study the master plan, understand it, and thereafter set up a committee to advise him on what to do where the master plan has truly been distorted,” the professor added.

A social affairs commentator, Richard Aderanti, was particularly worried about the new minister’s threat, saying that the threat was uncalled for, especially now that Nigerians were suffering from a bad economy caused by bad leadership in the country.

He noted that Abuja was dominated by real estate developments which are largely owned by people in government. According to him, houses are expensive in Abuja because the government has failed to do what it is supposed to do for the people.

Aderanti noted that Nigerians were suffering already and so there should be no more threats coming from the government or its officials at a time like this.

“Wike’s threats only showed that the government has no consideration for the people,” he said.