Land Grab: Man Drags FCT Minister, Perm Sec To Court

Land Grab: Man Drags FCT Minister, Perm Sec To Court

…alleges plans to take land from him

Chris Steven, Abuja

An Abuja based business man and Chairman of Silver Proof Nigeria Limited, Timothy Bagwams has dragged the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye before an Appeal Court seeking to restrain them from further demolition of his property.

Others joined in the suit no FCT/HC/CV/2020/16 were Abuja Metropolitan Management Council and Director of FCT Parks and Recreation.

The Court action followed the demolition of a garden facility belonging to Bagwams situated on Plot 747 A00 at Central Area by officials of Department of Development Control on Wednesday November 16, 2016.

Speaking with journalists, the business man alleged that the motive behind the demolition was sinister noting that it was aimed at taking the plot of land designated as District Recreational Park away from him.

He argued that the land was dully allocated to his company, Silver Proof Nigeria Limited by the Federal Capital Territory administration in 2007 with all the appropriate documents with the sole purpose of developing a garden on the plot.

According to him, there have been attempts in the past by the Federal Ministry of Finance to hijack the land from him on the ground that the location constitutes a security threat, noting that such fear was allayed when the FCT Administration wrote to the Ministry that the area is a sub-system of Green Area network within the Ministries zone in the detailed Central Area Urban Design prepared by Messrs. Kenzo Tange and Urtec in 1998.

He further revealed that a Deed of Lease of the Park between him and the FCTA was signed and sealed on July 16, 2007 adding that all the relevant fees requested of him by the law were paid in respect of the Deed.

Bagwams who is lamenting the loss that resulted from the demolition exercise which was carried out in the presence of heavily armed Police men and Soldiers during which journalists who attempted to cover the exercise were thoroughly beaten said his investment has gone down the drain.

His words: I can’t still understand what is happening. I was shocked when I received calls from my staff on Wednesday that officials of Department of Development Control were demolishing my garden. I thought it was a joke.

“All my investment had gone because everything was demolished. Nothing was spared. I do not know the intention of the FCT administration with this exercise because I have all the relevant documents that back up the allocation of the place.

“I have over 30 staff working at that garden, now they are all out of job because of this mindless demolition. We were in Court but I was surprised without being served the court ruling and they came to demolish the place. Is this the government we voted for? Is this the change we were promised?

” It seems there are higher forces or powers that be that are interested in taking the land from me since I’m nobody. If not, why coming to the place with police and Soldiers to intimidate us and even harass journalists.”

The business man also argued that his company was not served the court ruling that led to the demolition of his property alleging that FCT Permanent Secretary, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye was the one behind the whole exercise.

He further alleged that the Perm Sec was sighted at the place two days after the demolition with some foreign investors discussing possible use for the land despite a court summon that joined him as a defendant.

According to him, the Perm Sec gave instruction to the Department of Development Control to demolish the garden.