By: Ben Ukeji & Prudence Okonna
The Coordinating Committee on the Recovery of Outstanding Ground Rent and Other Related Charges in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has announced its decision to begin mass prosecution of titleholders, who have refused to pay their debt, despite several appeals for them to come forward and clear the outstanding liabilities.
The Committee says massive legal action, will begin in the first quarter of 2023 to ensure that all debtors are brought to face justice and perhaps, have their property forfeited.
A statement from the Director, Information, and Communication, FCT, Muhammad Hazat Sule who is also the Chairman of the Media Subcommittee, indicated that the mass prosecution is part of the Committee’s strategy.
According to the Committee, the information is to serve as the last reminder in the outgoing year and also form the basis for what defaulters should expect as we prepare to usher in the year 2023.
It said since some of the Ground Rent debtors are recalcitrant in paying their prescribed fees, the Committee has no other option than to take this legal procedure, which might culminate in the final confiscation of the affected property.
As earlier explained, the Committee intends to consider publishing the names of all those, who have refused to honor their statutory obligation by clearing their outstanding liabilities, especially those whose cases are before the appropriate court of law.
The publication of the names of the debtors already charged to court, the Committee believes will send a strong message to other defaulters that the FCT Administration is determined to recover the huge debt owed it by property owners in the Territory.
It will be recalled that a caveat has also been placed to deny such titleholders access to the property, and eventually forfeit the same to the government.
Accordingly, the caveat formally placed is expected to safeguard such properties from being tampered with, especially by attempting to sell or transfer ownership, because the matter is being heard in court.
The forfeiture of the property of those that refused to clear their debts is also of importance to the FCT Administration, because such actions will serve as a deterrent to all those recalcitrant to honor their obligations.
The FCT Administration is determined to recover all Ground Rent debts owed by property owners in Abuja, and all necessary procedures will be followed to achieve this.
It would be recalled that the FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr. Adesola Olusade inaugurated a debt recovery committee with the mandate to recover the outstanding debts owed the FCT Administration with a particular interest in ground rents and other sundry fees in the Land Administration as well as other land related Departments.