Crisis Averted In Lugbe As Shop Owners Resist Land-Grab By FHA Staff


*Wike, Musa Dangiwa May Be Petitioned Over Sharp Practices By FHA Staff

By CHIBUZOR ONYIA

A violent confrontation was averted in Lugbe, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory on Saturday, when owners of Corner shops at Sector ‘F’ resisted attempts to build new shops on the setbacks from the adjourning road which would block entrance to existing shops.

The indiscriminate building of new shops on setbacks between existing buildings and the roads were allegedly approved by officials of the Federal Housing Authority which owns the estate, in clear violation of their masterplan.

Before the swearing-in of the new Housing and Urban Development Minister, Alhaji Musa Dangiwa, officials of the Federal Housing Authority had hurriedly allocated available spaces within the Lugbe area, including parking spaces, setbacks and places marked for public convenience.

One of the beneficiaries, Emmanuel Amos Adebayo, who said he was recently allocated one of the setbacks for his private office, was prevented from building the office. After his efforts were rebuffed, he returned to the site last Saturday, determined to commence construction.

Nyesom Wike, FCT Minister

The adjourning shop owners alerted the Lugbe police station when the matter nearly resulted into violent confrontation between Adebayo’s workers and staff of Fingerprint Communications Limited which operates the DSTV franchise in Lugbe. They insisted that the space was the only setback between their office, which was once occupied by Happy Note Microfinance Bank, and the access road.

The Police officer, Inspector Samuel Olusola, who arrived at the site to forestall any violence, eventually took Mr. Adebayo and his construction workers to the Lugbe police station. The DPO, Supt. Ugochukwu later advised against any violence and therefore ordered Mr. Adebayo to stay action while all the parties should seek further clarification from the Federal Housing Authority.

People&Politics was shown a copy of a building approval signed by one Ms. Queen Phillips, a staff of the FHA field office in Lugbe. Our enquiries at the office however revealed that Ms. Phillips who purportedly signed the document has since been redeployed to the FHA office in Gwarinpa. We could not ascertain whether her deployment had to do with such controversial allocations.

When the head of the Town Planning department at the Federal Housing Authority Surveyor Eyong was reached for clarification, he denied knowledge of the allocation. He however said he would see the two parties to determine whether the allocation was authorized or not. The meeting will be attended later in the week by Adebayo, an Engineer, and Mrs. Peace Nwakego, owner of the building and Managing Director of Fingerprint Communications Limited.

Efforts to reach the Managing Director of the Federal Housing Authority, Senator Gbenga Ashafa over the crisis proved abortive.

There are indications that the owners of such Cornershops intend to petition the FCT Minister, Barrister Nyesom Wike and his Housing and Urban Development counterpart, Alhaji Musa Dangiwa, over indiscriminate allocations of setbacks and open spaces meant for public convenience within the Sector ‘F’ Corner shops. They also lamented that many of the Cornershops in Lugbe has since been turned into residential homes allegedly with the connivance of FHA field office in Lugbe.

The new FCT Minister who has frowned at such indiscriminate constructions, insists that such buildings which have turned Lugbe and other settlements into big slums and hide-outs for hoodlums, will be demolished.


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