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N29bn Ground Rents Debt: FCTA drags defaulters to Court

Determined to recover all Ground Rent debts owed it by property owners in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), has commenced prosecution of the defaulting titleholders, who are yet to pay their Ground Rents debt.

Muhammad Hazat Sule, Director, Information & Communication, FCT / Chairman, Media & Publicity Sub-Committee disclosed this in a statement Sunday.

Sule said already, the government has filed court cases against some of the property owners over their failure to pay the prescribed land chargers.

The government is seeking for an order to force debtors to clear their debts or forfeit the affected property, since they are recalcitrant in paying the debt, despite several appeals.

The FCT Administration has taken this step to drive home the point that it is desirous of recovering the over N29 billion Ground Rents owed it by property owners.

The government last month, announced its preparedness to prosecute about 413 defaulting property owners by end of the August 2022, being the first set.

Accordingly, the legal fireworks, has commenced and may lead to the forfeiture of the affected property to the government in line with relevant laws.

Sule noted that “It is disheartening that some of the debtors have failed to pay their outstanding Ground Rents, inspite of several appeals and warnings, thereby, jeopardizing government’s effort at providing critical services to the residents.”

The government insisted that since all entreaties have failed, it has no other option than to commence the prosecution of the first batch of the defaulting property owners.

It would be recalled that the FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr. Adesola Olusade recently inaugurated a debt recovery committee with the mandate to recover the outstanding debts owed the FCT Administration with particular interest in ground rents and other sundry fees in the Land Administration as well as other Land related departments.

The Coordinating Committee on the Recovery of Outstanding Ground Rent and Other Related Charges in the FCT, is headed by the FCT General Counsel/Secretary Legal Secretariat, Mohammed Babangida Umar. The Committee earlier announced the engagement of five law firms, owned by Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), hired to prepare legal documents to commence legal action against the defaulting titleholders.

“The Committee wishes to inform the public that there will be no sacred cows as the law will surely take its course, because the only language it will understand is for the debtors to clear their outstanding debt”, the statement said.

The FCT Administration assured that it will not retreat in pursuing the legal option, because it needs funds to provide infrastructural development.

All debtors are advised to clear their outstanding debts or face full wrath of the law.

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