Ooriginal owners of the land used for the Centenary City Project in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have demanded that their land be given back to them.
The owners said during the continuation of the House of Representatives Committee on FCT’s investigation into the irregularities of the project in Abuja that since their land was taken, neither did they get compensation nor re-allocation papers.
A representative of the land owners, Felix Osuji, told the committee chaired Rep Herman Hembe (APC, Benue) that his company along with others got allocation for the land in April 2011 from the then FCT minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, saying 75 titles were given on the Centenary City.
He said after they had gone far with work on the land, the government revoked their allocation and failed to compensate them.
“We went into pre-development process. My company paid premium of N140m. We submitted our plan. We had 200 houses at different levels of completion. But in January 2013, I went to the site and was handed a paper our security man that our property was taken over. Since 2013, none of us received any attention from the then minister or the current one.
“My property was valued at over N900m but they said they would pay N140m. My neighbour borrowed money from the bank to develop that place. He died last year. We don’t want more people to die. Give us our land back. We don’t want anything else,” he said.
However in his response, the former minister said he sympathized with the aggrieved persons and that the revocation was done in public interest, adding that they had agreed to pay compensation to the land owners.
Meanwhile, the lawmakers demanded that the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim, under whose office the project was mid-wifed, should explain why he acted on behalf of the company even when the government said the project was a private sector driven, saying he should explain his interest in the project.
The committee walked out the lawyer of Centenary City Plc, Emeka Obegolu, for “unruly behaviour.”
The lawyer who appeared alongside the Managing Director of the company, Odenigwe Ike Michaels, said they were at the hearing to make an objection, but Hembe said he would only be allowed to speak at the appropriate time.
However, the lawyer insisted to speak, a development that forced some of the lawmakers to shut him down even as he continued to speak.
But when the lawyer continued, the lawmakers called men of the Sergeant-At-Arms, to walk him out of the venue and the MD also went out along with the lawyer.