FOLLOWING the non-enforcement of the terms, conditions and covenants contained in the Certificate of Occupancy regarding development of allotted land in the Federal Capital territory, the House of Representatives has asked its committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to conduct an investigative hearing to determine the status of undeveloped allotted lands and their owners.

This, according to it, is to recommend measures to ensure the enforcement of the terms, conditions and covenants contained in the Rights of Occupancy or Certificate of Occupancy given each allottee of undeveloped land in the FCT.

The parliament particularly tasked the committee headed by Herman Hembe, to pay specific attention to the areas where full infrastructure had been provided by government, such as Guzape, Maitama, and Asokoro among others in the territory and report back to the chamber within four weeks for further legislative action.

The decision of the House was sequel to the adoption of a motion introduced on the floor by Emmanuel Ekon and Uzoma Nkem-Abonta on the need to to establish the status of undeveloped allotted plots in the FCT and to take measures geared towards enforcing the terms and conditions for such grant and allotment and establish the identity and ownership of properties in the highbrow areas of the territory.

Leading debate on the motion, Ekon observed that the relevant agencies of the FCT including the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Department of Land Administration, Department of Development Control, Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS) among others.

He told his colleagues that the authorities of the agencies have not been enforcing the the terms, conditions and covenants contained in the Certificate of Occupancy regarding development of allotted land within a specific period of time.

The lawmaker argued that the failure of the agencies has encouraged land speculators to keep lands undeveloped for several years in order for them to appreciate in value so that they could thereafter sell at exorbitant prices.

He argued that the practice of keeping lands undeveloped for a lengthy period of time is one of the reasons for the high cost of houses and the accommodation problems in the FCT.

“If the practice is not checked, the noble efforts of the government to address the housing needs of the FCT will continue to be frustrated by land speculators to the detriment of helpless Nigerians.

“For the purposes of security in the FCT, probity, payment of appropriate property taxes and rents, there is an urgent need to determine the identities of the owners of all properties and land, both developed and undeveloped, in the highbrow areas of the FCT,” he submitted.

Ekon further noted that the Minister of the FCT has the status of a Governor of a state for the purpose of issuing Certificates of Occupancy in respect of lands situated in the FCT to deserving citizens upon application.

He said a Certificate of Occupancy usually contains terms and conditions stating, inter-alia, specific period of time when the allottee is expected to develop such allotted land or risk forfeiting such land as is provided in the Act.