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Nigeria’s FCT land allocation scam exposed

Nigeria: Political loyalties and favouritism appeared to have influenced the allocation of lands in the Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) during the reign of Senator Mohammed Adamu Aliero as minister, senior officials in the FCT administration told Daily Trust. They also said that Aliero sidestepped the due process in allocating lands without recourse to the Land Use and Allocation Committee as required by law. Aliero, a former governor of Kebbi State, was FCT minister from December 2008 to March 18, 2010.

Documents from the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS), Nigeria, show that the former minister allocated a total of 2,778 residential plots of land during his reign. Of this number, people from his home state Kebbi received the highest number of plots with 262 residential plots, followed by Katsina State with 164.

The former minister’s method of allocating land was to send a list of his approvals for plot allocations to the AGIS through two of his special assistants, whom he later on, co-opted into the lands committee as additional members vide a letter to his chief of staff and chairman of the committee dated February 2, 2010.

The former minister’s media aide Abdullahi Zuru, said people from Kebbi also have the right like every other Nigerian to apply for land in the FCT and the minister had the power to allocate those lands to them.

Other infractions by Aliero include allocating lands in excess of the approved sizes. On February 15, 2010, the FCT Administration published the revised guidelines of its mass housing programme, to check abuses in the scheme where large chunks of land allocated to developers were re-carved and re-sold illegally. The guidelines say for the city, the maximum sizes for mass housing plots was pegged at 10 hectares and 20 hectares for the satellite towns. But Aliero did not abide by the guidelines, according to information from the FCTA. Responding to this, Sam Kargbo, special assistant to the then FCT minister, told Daily Trust by telephone that such allocations were no allocation at all. They are mere dummies or at best letters of intent because they were given out to developers under pressure and the tenure of those allocations was for only two weeks.

Aliero quit as FCT minister on March 18 after the dissolution of the federal cabinet.

When contacted, a very senior official of AGIS, who preferred anonymity, confirmed the report but said that it is not only FCTA that is guilty of such sharp practices by those given land to hold in trust for its citizens. “The same situation exists in most land administration ministries and department in various states of Nigeria because land is a very valuable commodity and provides easy platform for government officials to corrupt themselves through the allocation of land,” the official said.

Source: All Africa