…We didn’t touch the main building
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has said that it’s authorities removed only a portion of African Independent Television (AIT’s) fence with a security gate that hitherto encroached into other people’s property and blocked their access in Asokoro District, Abuja.
Briefing newsmen after the exercise, the Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), Umar Shuaibu, explained that the action became necessary following the refusal of DAAR Group, owners of AIT, to move its fence inward to the boundary of their property so as to allow other Nigerians access into their property.
Umar said: “It is important to let the public know that this removal was not intended to inflict any pain on the owners of the property but rather to enable other citizens to have access to their legitimate properties. It is also a culmination of a series of meetings between the Management of DAAR Communications owners of AIT and the Federal Capital Territory administration to end many years of misunderstanding.
“Specifically, in November last year, the management of DAAR Communications led by High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, paid a courtesy visit to the FCT Minister and they were received on his behalf by the Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister, Bashir Mai-Borno, who led the FCTA team made up of relevant directors and others in the discussions.
“The purpose of the discussions was to resolve the protracted dispute regarding the actual size of land legally allocated to DAAR Communications as against the area covered by their perimeter fence. The whole idea was for both parties to mutually agree to reach a settlement that would bring about the permanent solution and forge ahead for the development of the FCT and the nation at large.
“After very fruitful deliberations on the areas of contention, each side expressed satisfaction over the new reconciliatory approach and the sincerity in reaching a logical and peaceful conclusion.
“Thereafter, both parties agreed to visit the site for an on-the-spot investigation of the area where surveyors from both parties were able to identify the problematic areas on a satellite image map, leading to a common agreement on the necessity to remove the portions of the fence that has encroached into adjoining plots of land belonging to other Nigerians.
“Indeed, at that meeting, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, expressed confidence in the ability of the current FCT administration to end the matter satisfactorily and pledged to abide by its outcome.
“The FCT administration was, therefore, left with no other option than to do the needful by removing the illegal structures. With this removal, other allottees are now free to access their plots of land.”
The Director, Department of Development Control, Muktar Galadima, who also spoke, revealed that the parcel of land belonging to AIT was only 18 hectares, adding that the media outfit had just submitted application for building approval which his department was still processing, meaning any development on the land remained a violation of development control rules.
Refuting insinuations that the removal was politically motivated, Galadima said the matter dated back to about 2007 and the “precast fence and gatehouse which blocked other citizens’ access was removed.
When asked for his reaction, the Group Managing Director, Tony Akiotu, said his organisation would comment in due course – whenever they were ready.