By Samson Yaki
The ongoing demolitions by the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in a bit to restore the Master Plan of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has been described as welcomed development as it is geared towards restoring the glory of the nation’s capital city.
A world class Urban and Regional Planner with Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Professor Adamu Ahmed, who disclosed this in a chat with *Abuja Monitor*, said, “for the Master Plan of the FCT to be fully implemented, all illegal structures in the capital city must be completely demolished”.
He added that any structure that violates the Master Plan provisions of the FCT should not be tolerated and that irresponsible behaviour of a few should not be allowed to override the good intentions of the Capital.
The University Don stressed that “Demolitions are not unusual in Master Plan implementation”.
” It is embarrassing that the Country is taking nearly 50 years to implement less than 60 percent of a well-intentioned Master Plan”, he lamented.
Professor Ahmed also said that the fight for the restoration of the Master Plan of the FCT will not be an easy task to embark upon as it will certainly attract criticisms from the benefactors of such fraudulent acts, maintaining that building cities is a disciplined process that is technical and rule based requiring strong will to overcome opposition from people who wish to maintain the benefits they receive from indiscipline and corrupt activities they are used to.
“Given the potential benefits of restoring the Master Plan to the broader development objectives of the Country, it is certainly worth sustaining the restoration efforts irrespective of who it affects”, he emphasized.
The former Bauchi State Commissioner of Land pointed out that some of the critics of Wike today were those that applauded El-Rufai when he was carrying out similar demolition activities as Minister of the FCT, saying that their criticism are regional vendetta aimed at distracting the good works of the incumbent FCT Minister.
He said though El-Rufa’i did great things as minister of the FCT, but there are indications that Wike’s leadership will do much more, adding that though the Federal Capital City has had a shortage of funding for its development, perhaps the game changer that will define Wike’s success is the autonomy in tax collection and budgetary autonomy he has secured for the city.
“Adequate and sustainable finance is essential to the city meeting their urban planning, infrastructure and service delivery and responsibilities that the Federal Capital City never had.
“Wike also comes with the experience of managing a city-state in the place of Port Harcourt, the fifth largest city in the Country with enormous complexity in social, economic and physical development challenges, much more to manage than many States.
The Don disclosed that there is large number of administrative corruption in the land administration system that justifies the cleanup.
“The state capture has operated at a very large scale through improper allocation and transfer of land to individuals, cronies, families and groups that have no business having such, in addition to favorable decisions to change land use that cannot be justified on objective grounds.
The Urban and Regional Planning expert however lamented that, “Public officials have also distorted the focus of development through manipulation of land records and outright theft, including under valuation and manipulation of tax assessments”.
He stressed that “Preliminary studies suggests that nearly sixty percent of ill-gotten wealth in the Country is being laundered through loopholes in the land administration system with enormous national development implications, including in particular, distortions in the residential property market of Abuja. The clean-up therefore, is necessary and needs to go deeper, be more thorough and decisive”.