The Federal Capital Territory Administration has threatened to begin implementation of environmental laws which stipulates financial penalties on offenders .
The Administration explained that developers found guilty of violating the land use of any area in the FCT, may have to start paying for the cost of demolishing their own properties,
The Coordinator of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, AMMC, Tpl. Shuaibu Umar, who disclosed this at a press conference over the weekend, said the measure has become necessary following the numerous abuse of building regulations as well as town planning violations.
Blaming the erring developers for the pace of flooding witnessed in Abuja in recent times, Umar pointed that most of the flood disasters in recorded in Abuja results from buildings erected on flood plains.
Adding that the FCT has in recent times been inundated with reports of flooding around Lokogoma, Trademore Estate, Lugbe, among another communities, with number of lives and properties lost to flash flooding.
The AMMC coordinator, while fielding questions from journalists, said when implemented, the development will save government huge cost of logistics and also serve as deterrent to recalcitrant developers.
In his words, “We have a provision in the Urban and Regional Planning Law as well as provisions in the environmental law that establish the Abuja Environmental Protection Board which allows for prosecution of developers that violate building requirements and regulations.
“The law empowers us to enforce, demolish and prosecute. The law also allows us to charge erring developers to reimburse the authority all the expenses spent during that demolition.
“So we are going to commence implementation this law. Any developer found guilty of violating land use of any area, we demolish, prosecute and make sure he reimburse our enforcement. In a situation where public infrastructure like bridges or roads are destroyed, we will also charge the developer to pay for whatever he may have destroyed in the course of violation of our regulation.”
On the pace of demolitions across the territory in recent times, the coordinator maintained that government can not afford to sit back and watch people putting their lives and that of others at risk.
“We are not demolishing because we want to, we are demolishing because we have to protect people’s lives. If people do not value their lives, we have the responsibility to protect it for them.”
He maintained that the FCT Administration, through its relevant agencies, has played its part in ensuring that the city’s land use are adhered to in all neighbourhood.
According to him, the city’s planner perfected a plan and made sure that, “lands on flood plains are never allocated but what we have today are recalcitrant developers that encroach on green areas. I can categorically say that almost all the areas presently threatened by flood are illegal development.
“It’s not because we are not taking measures, because every time we notice an illegal development or infractions, our officers move in, stop work and mark such buildings and serve them demolition notices.”