As part of measures to curb defaulting property owners, the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, has stated that going forward, all property developers in the territory must show evidence of ground rent payment before the Department of Development Control considers and approves any building plan application. The new directive, came up as a result of the huge debt of over 29 billion naira owed the Administration by property owners, who have not made payment of their outstanding debt, despite several warnings and appeals.
This was made known in a statement by the Director, Information & Communication, FCT/Chairman, Media & Publicity Sub-Committee Muhammad Hazat Sule and made available to journalist. According to the statement, Property owners in the FCT are indebted to the FCTA and are refusing to pay their ground rent and other land related charges, forcing the FCT Administration to constitute a Coordinating Committee on the Recovery of the outstanding N29 billion Ground Rents, which government needs to implement its programs, and provide basic social services to residents.
Accordingly, the clearance of all outstanding ground rents is now a requirement for the processing and approval of building plans submitted by property owners in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The Director of the Department Development Control, who is also a member of the Coordinating Committee has noted this resolution and affirmed that the Department will do everything to enforce this new requirement. It may be recalled that the FCT Permanent Secretary, Adesola Olusade recently inaugurated a debt recovery committee with the mandate to recover the outstanding debts owed the FCT Administration with particular interest in ground rents and other sundry fees in the Land Administration as well as other Land related departments.
However, the Committee had earlier announced the engagement of five law firms, owned by Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), who have been hired to prepare legal documents to commence legal action against the defaulting titleholders. In this light, The FCT Administration decided to set up this Coordinating Committee due to the failure of titleholders to pay the prescribed land charges, despite several appeals and notices served on the affected property owners.
The Administration had earlier sent out letters serving as last warning to such defaulters, as the government is committed to recover every dime owed it. The Coordinating Committee is poised to do everything within the ambit of the law to recover every dime owed by the government and will take advantage of this robust partnership with these highly professional legal firms to realize this. The Committee wishes to appeal to the defaulters to be honorable and responsible to pay their outstanding ground rents as it is a better option left to avoid punitive action.