In an ideal situation, what should precede plot allocation are: land availability, layout design and provision of infrastructure.
In order to avoid waste, plot sizes are supposed to be determined relative to the needs of the allotees. The authority should allocate plots according to people’s needs and not want in order to avoid colossal waste of land resource
The total land area of the FCT (Lagos was 621.2km2, but now it is 8,0002 in Abuja, about 13 times larger. Despite this size, in its bid to conserve or economize the use of land which is an exhaustive commodity, the IPA that produced the Abuja Master Plan budgeted only 250km2, less than half of the former FCT size at Lagos, for use as the Federal Capital City. The rest vast land of about 7,750km2 is left for regional development. It is expected that, with prudent land management, whatever the pressure is on land demand, land would still be adequate in Abuja for future centuries, for sustainable development and the essential use as the Federal Capital of Nigeria which it has been created for.
Unfortunately, the land which must be protected and preserved for essential use is recklessly being allocated in gross violation of the laid down procedure. Instead of applying for the purpose of development, Abuja land is acquired as a commodity for speculation. The ravenous demand for land allocation in Abuja, most especially, requests from the politicians in power, is such that no administration shall be able to satisfy. Over the years, the penchant for acquiring land in Abuja has become a syndrome to many. The whole of Abuja from Phase I to IV as originally conceived became grossly inadequate and it led to the introduction of the fifth phase by subsequent administration. Lands that are budgeted for specific uses from the original concept such as open spaces, recreation, transportation infrastructure, light industry and others are now being violated.
In the Abuja Master Plan, what was budgeted for residential use out of the original 25,498 ha total city size, was 48.97% while 32.55% was budgeted for open space and recreation. Meanwhile, the situation analysis presented in the Abubakar Dansadau Committee report of 2010 was that, between 2007 and April 2010, spanning barely four years, within the tenure of three ministers, as many as 19,907 plots allocations were made. Upon categorization of the allocations into land use types, it was disclosed that a whopping 89.14% was for residential use, while Open Space/Green Areas was only 0.25%. If such a pattern is maintained for allocations in the whole city, there shall be very substantial and unimaginable deviation from the original IPA budget for the residential and open spaces/recreational uses.
The Dansadau Committee did not give the records of applications for development permit at the Development Control Department for the corresponding period covering the period these numbers of allocations were made. If it does we shall obviously be highly disappointed, because the number shall be very insignificant in comparison to the number of allocations. The disappointment shall be more if we consider only those that eventually got building plan approval.
It is instructive to note that in a stakeholders’ forum in 2012, the former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed stated that 90% of the allocated plots in the FCT are not developed, and he attributed that to lack of infrastructure. In the same occasion he further stated that aggregate provision of infrastructure in the FCT since existence is not more than 25%.
From all these revelations, we expected that further land allocations shall be stalled and emphasis be made on the provision of infrastructure. However, the reverse was the case, with gross violations on the extant rules and regulations on the land uses and the sizes of the allocations. We have records of single allocations with sizes of whole district. There is one that was up to 465Ha. It was not even among the Land Swap option, Centenary City, Malaysian Garden and other special models.
We strongly recommend that further plot allocation should be stalled and emphasis should be on provision of infrastructure. Meanwhile, all previous allocations made in violation of extant rules and regulations need to be reviewed.
Source: Umar Shuaibu

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