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ARMY ARRANGEMENT | Army Claims Ownership of Maitama District Ex­tension

by on September 12, 2016
 
No fewer than 400 emi­nent Nigerians, includ­ing former presidents are likely to lose their plots of land and houses on the contro­versial Maitama District Ex­tension in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to the Nigeri­an Army.
The Army is claiming own­ership of the district, which was developed by the Federal Cap­ital Development Authority (FCDA) during the adminis­tration of the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan.
Asser­tions by the allottees or bene­ficiaries that the Army has no clear evidence that it owns the land.
On September 3, 2016, the Army, without any provocation, deployed soldiers to the area, drove out workers of Kaka­tar CE Limited, officially con­tracted to provide engineering infrastructure for the district and sealed off the road leading to the land.
Since then, the company which was contracted by the FCDA to handle the project has been denied access to the site.
It has not also been able to retrieve equipment, such as as­phalt-producing plants, rock crushers, state-of-the-art fab­rication workshop, heavy duty earth-moving equipment like bulldozers and excavators and trucks trapped in the district.
Soldiers at the first gate of the land told journalists that, “We are on order from the Chief of Army Staff to take over this place and not to allow an­yone in or out of the premises.”
According to them, some Army Generals led a team of soldiers to take over the place, adding that they were not given any reason for the action.
Before the current crisis, a cordial relationship existed between the FCDA, Kakatar workers and the Army.
The disputed district shares borders with the Lungi Bar­racks, near the Brigade of Guards of the Nigerian Army, as well as Asokoro and Maita­ma Districts.
Since construction be­gan there in 2011, visitors are only allowed access to Kakatar premises after clearance from soldiers at the gates for which they were paid a stipend.
There are speculations that Jonathan owned the entire Maitama Extension, with over 400 plots already allocated to Nigerians which have been duly captured in the Abuja Master­plan.
Kakatar CE is alleged to be one of Jonathan’s firms, but in­vestigations have shown that there is no truth in that.
It was discovered that the FCDA gave the parcels of land to some powerful leaders, for­mer heads of state, serving and former top military officials, serving and past party leaders and some influential tradition­al and religious leaders in the country.
The Maitama District Ex­tension was actually designat­ed in 2008 by then FCT Min­ister, Senator Adamu Aliero, under the administration of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua alongside Katampe and Katampe Extension. That government virtually allotted all the plots to the various al­lottees.
It was also revealed that a former FCT Minister had re­named the district after Presi­dent Jonathan, who swiftly re­jected the “Jonathan District” name for the new district and ordered that the said minister immediately revert to the pop­ularly known “Maitama Exten­sion”.
The FCDA awarded the construction of the infrastruc­ture of the district to Kakatar which made history as the first wholly Nigerian construction firm to be awarded the Abuja district’s infrastructural devel­opment project in the FCT.
As a rule, in every district where FCDA awards contract for the development of infra­structure, the contractor gets a temporary space for its site offices. The FCDA maintains oversight function offices for the contractor in the execution of the project.
Kakatar was expected to construct 23 kilometres roads of various types, four major bridges to link the various com­munities and into the Kubwa Expressway, a clover-leaf inter­change linking the district with the highway, provide 26.4 kil­ometres length of storm water line of various sizes, 31.8 kil­ometres length of four sewer lines of various sizes; 38.7 kil­ometres length of water sup­ply lines with relevant accesso­ries and a booster pump station and 1,000m3 of clean water res­ervoir.
The company was also ex­pected to construct a network of electricity distribution and telecommunication ducts with a 33 KV/11KV injection sub­station and 11/0.415KV trans­former as well as underground cables for distribution and plot connections.
Official sources said that Kakatar has demonstrated the capacity to deliver on the con­tract terms and made progress in the provision of vital infra­structure under the terms of the contract.
In the FCDA budget, N2.5 billion is earmarked for the set­tlement of outstanding liabili­ties to Kakatar and the contin­uation of work on the Maitama Extension project in its 2016 project approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, who reacted to the action of the soldiers, insisted that the disputed land belonged to the Army.
“The said property is on Ni­gerian Army land and the Army will not allow anybody to en­croach on its land. Consequent­ly, the property has to be sealed to prevent further encroach­ment,” he said.
The FCDA, which allotted the lands, has remained silent on the matter. It was learnt how­ever, that the agency is caught between braving a feud with the Nigerian Army and the ag­grieved allotees who are threat­ening to sue the Nigerian Army to court for encroachment.
Kakatar is however piqued that it had been denied access into its premises and the use of their equipment by the soldiers.
The spokesman for the company, Mr. Austin Ekein­de, in a statement lamented that the action of the Nigerian Army is causing the firm huge losses and untold hardship on the workers who have been sent home.

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