GROUND RENT: ASOKORO /MAITAMA RESIDENTS OWE FCTA OVER 3 BILLION
Adesola Olusade, FCT Permanent Secretary
By:Ben Ukeji, Prudence Okonna, & Sunday Shekownya
Property owners in Asokoro and Maitama Districts of the Federal Capital City Abuja, are owing the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), the whooping sum of N3,197,148,997.48, constituting 20 percent of the total outstanding ground rents debts.
In a statement from the Director, Information, and Communication, FCT, and the Chairman Publicity Sub Committee on the Recovery of
Outstanding Ground Rent and Other Land-Related Charges, Muhammad Hazat Sule, said the FCT Administration has taken bold steps toward recovering these huge debts owed by property owners by filing cases against the violators in courts.
However, the cases are being prosecuted in batches beginning with the two highbrow areas of Asokoro and Maitama Districts respectively.
Accordingly, 1,504 and 1,475 demand notices meant for Asokoro and Maitama Districts amounting to 2,979 have been served on the defaulting titleholders in these districts through courier services.
The statement further stated that several cases are already pending in the courts.
The Administration filed the cases seeking the court to either compel the debtors to pay the debts or forfeit their property to the government.
According to him, the government has taken this path to make it clear to titleholders in the FCT that it is no longer business as usual, because this time around, the FCT Administration is ready to recover all its outstanding funds.
Earlier, the FCT Administration placed litigation caveat on the affected properties whose cases are already in courts to tighten all loose ends and restrict transactions on such property, including illegal transfer of ownership.
Sule also said the Co-ordinating Committee on the Recovery of Outstanding Ground Rent and Other Related Charges in the FCT, therefore, appeals to the FCT Judiciary, to support the FCT Administration’s drive to recover the debts owed it by designating some Magistrates and High Courts in the FCT as special courts to handle the cases.
This, he said, is to ensure speedy dispensation of justice.
The government is determined to recover all Ground Rent debts owed by property owners in Abuja, and all necessary procedures will be followed to achieve this.
The government commenced the prosecution of the defaulting titleholders after several appeals from the FCT Administration for them to pay their debts fell on deaf ears.
The FCTA is in court to seek an order to compel debtors to clear their debts or forfeit the affected property, since they are recalcitrant in paying the debt, despite several warnings.
He 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 department.