ABUJA LAND AVAILABILITY CHALLENGES AND MISMANAGEMENT: ISSUES AND SOLUTIONS
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Abuja the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria has tremendous importance in the country’s life and development. It is a hotbed for political fermentation, such that generates centripetal attraction from all corners of the country, perhaps nowhere has the need for judicious use and preservation of exhaustive land resources become imperative in Nigeria today than the Federal Capital City. From the outcome of the panel set up by the Federal Government led by Justice T.A Aguda to relocate the Federal Capital Territory from Lagos to Abuja, an 8,000km2 land was carved out of the central region of the country to serve as the Federal Capital Territory for the Nation. There was a misconception that the original inhabitants’ population to be resettled was only between 25,000 and 50,000. However, a later survey in 1984 revealed that their actual population was about 150,000. More than 30 years later, this population has multiplied many times as a result of natural increase and migration. It is pertinent to understand that the 8,000km2 as the size of the FCT, was not recommended by the International Planning Associates (IPA), the planning firm that produced the Abuja Master Plan, but by the FCT Location Committee, and has been defined in the 1976 FCT Decree even before the IPA was commissioned in June 1977 to plan the city, with the size as one of the terms of reference. Thus, the Abuja master plan has originally been designed with the concept that the whole area has already been evacuated. It was later discovered that the number of the original inhabitants was grossly underestimated. The resettlement cost was astronomical, to the extent of being higher than the money needed for the city development (Elleh, 2012). It therefore became necessary to change the resettlement policy from total evacuation to phases, depending on the actual area needed for the city development. In ideal situation what should precede plot allocation are land availability, layout design and provision of infrastructure. In order to avoid waste, plots sizes are supposed to be determined relative to the needs of the allotees. If ones need could be contained in 500m2, then any excess portion beside that is a colossal waste of the land resources. Many others that need it could not get because somebody already has the title. In April 2012, the FCT Minister made a revelation at a stakeholders forum, that 90% of allocated plots in the FCT are not developed, which he attributed to lack of infrastructure. Because aggregate provision of infrastructure in the FCT since existence is not more than 25%. However, it is interesting to note that, till date there are many plots in Phase I that were provided with the infrastructure for almost 30 years, but without meaningful development or are fenced only. Recently, there is another very disturbing revelation. It is plot no 2 cadastral zone E13 Gude District sized 465Ha. The outrageous allocation was made to an Accenture Associates Ltd, with address as no. 3104 Mpape, Kaduna Abuja Expressway. The allocation was made dated just only 2 months to the end of the administration. It is now in the property market, being speculated for billions of naira. Still there are large hectare allocations of the Ebele and Obasanjo farms (Jerremy, 2014). Land Use and Allocation Committee (LUAC) is to make recommendation for lands allocations, but allocations are at times made before reverting to the LUAC. The model is a misnomer of Financing Urban Infrastructure with Land Value, Never feasible for affordable housing, Distortion of the sharing formula, Not only providing the infrastructure but also saddling the responsibility of resettlement on the developer.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Abuja officially became Nigeria’s capital on 12 December 1991, replacing Lagos, though the latter remains the country’s most populous city. At the 2006 census, the city of Abuja had a population of 776,298, making it one of the ten most populous cities in Nigeria. Abuja has witnessed a huge influx of people into the city; the growth has led to the emergence of satellite towns such as Karu Urban Area, Suleja, Gwagwalada, Lugbe, Kuje and smaller settlements to which the planned city is sprawling. This growth has affected land availability thereby creating a lot of challenges, a situation whereby whoever needs a land cannot get it easily. However, the researcher is examining Abuja land availability, the challenges and mismanagement involved with a view of proffering solution.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
1. To examine the challenges of land availability in Abuja.
2. To identify the issues of land mismanagement in Abuja.
3. To determine the solutions to the issues of land availability in Abuja.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the challenges of land availability in Abuja?
2. What are the issues of land mismanagement in Abuja?
3. What are the solutions to the issues of land availability in Abuja?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
1. The outcome of this study will enlighten the Nigeria public on the land related issues in Abuja. It will educate on the challenges and issues of Abuja land availability with a view of identifying the solutions.
2. This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study on Abuja Land availability, challenges and mismanagement will cover all the issues related to land availability, mismanagement in Abuja.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.