Reps to investigate Abuja land swap policy

The House of Representatives has said that it would soon commence investigation into the implementation of the land swap policy of the federal capital territory (FCT) introduced by Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Chairman, House of Representatives committee on FCT, Herman Hembe
The chairman, House of Representatives committee on FCT, Herman Hembe disclosed this while addressing journalists after the committee meeting in Abuja.
Hembe noted that the purpose of the investigations was to determine the effectiveness and otherwise of the policy, level of infrastructural development in the designated districts as well as benefits therefrom.
He reiterated the readiness of the committee to thoroughly look into how the policy was implemented adding that other areas the panel has gotten the mandate of the House to beam its searchlights on was to unravel the status and ownership of some plots of lands in highbrow areas of the city.
He said: “This policy was initiated by the last administration because government said it lacked the funds to provide the much needed infrastructure and as such the allotees of such plots were to provide the infrastructure.”
“The House passed a resolution mandating this committee to establish the status of undeveloped plots in highbrow areas of Abuja with fully serviced infrastructure. The idea is for the committee to identify such plots and recommend what should be done with them.”
“You are aware that when you are given a land, you are also given the terms of development and time frame within which you are expected to develop the plot. There are eight districts where these land swap arrangements had taken place and we are going to look at all these areas in our investigation.
“The land swap hasn’t been done in Nigeria before and one would have expected that the former administrators of the FCT will have allocated one district to private developers as a pilot scheme and thereafter, assess how well the scheme works before extending it to other areas. For someone like me, I am worried when you extend the scheme to eight districts in one fell swoop,” he stated.
Hembe further stated that the committee would in addition determine the number of abandoned capital projects within the territory and make appropriate recommendations that would form the resolution of the House for onward transmission to the executive for consideration and implementation.
He explained that the essence of the investigation was not to witch-hunt anybody adding that there were investors ready to develop the areas for the common good of the people.
“Another issue is the issue of abandoned projects in the territory, and to identify such projects and also find out why they were abandoned and suggest measures toward ensuring that such is not repeated again. “I’m aware of about 840 hectres of land given to a private company, it was said that government couldn’t provide infrastructure for the development of the land and so, the company still possesses that property illegally,”he said.
“Most of the leg work would be done by members of this committee. The abandoned capital projects that exist in the FCT are enormous. We will ask for the documents and we don’t think that should take more than a day or two in terms of the hearing. The Minister has promised to make relevant documents available to the committee,” he added.
Hembe appealed to the public to submit memorandum and provide useful information to the committee to assist it in the discharge of its mandate, adding that the House is committed to the expansion and provision of infrastructural development outside the city centre to satellite towns and other suburbs of Abuja.

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