The Federal Capital Terriory Administration (FCTA) says it has recorded 60 per cent success in the implementation of the Abuja Master Plan in spite of some challenges.
Mr Garba Kwamkur, the Acting Director, FCTA Department of Development Control, made the disclosure in an interview on Thursday, April 15, 2021 in Abuja.
Kwamkur, who said that the FCTA had performed very well in terms of the implementation of the Abuja Master Plan, added that many African countries had not achieved the level of development that Abuja had achieved.
According to him, apart from Presidential Lodge, Wuse Market and Catholic Church Cathedral, nothing had been distorted in the Master Plan
He said that the master plan was conceived in 1996, when the Federal Military Government thought it wise to move the capital city from Lagos to somewhere neutral and a virgin land that could accommodate many people, especially civil servants.
“And relatively I can say the design of the Abuja Master Plan has been achieved at least up to 60 per cent.
“As you know in all human endeavours, there are no plans that are 100 per cent followed because in the course of construction, you find out that human pattern of life changes and so you have to go around it.’’
Kwamkur said that Abuja Central Market was supposed to be located at the present location of the World Trade Centre building as the trade centre was to be used as a modern place for trading.
“But for us, especially in Africa, you know market has to do with bending down, selecting what you want and so on, so that is where the central market was supposed to be.
“Another change that I can remember again is the Catholic Church where you have the American, British and Brazilian Embassies.
“The Catholic Church was supposed to have the cathedral there but the cathedral has been moved to somewhere in Kubwa Papal ground.
“The catholic church said the land allocated to them was small and it couldn’t accommodate the cathedral and they advanced very serious reason as to why they needed a bigger space so they moved to Kubwa.”
The director said that building types had also been changed within the central area such as where the NNPC towers were as presently located.
“That was how most of the structures of the central area were supposed to be; you have tall buildings in four parts and then you have the courtyard within the centre and so if you finish with shopping in one of the towers you could come down to have coffee or something like that.”
He said that building design in the central area was changed because the initial design could only be built by organisations such as the NNPC, Central Bank of Nigeria and so on.
“But in those days the area was designed to allow multinationals such as UTC and Kingsway that had businesses in Nigeria to build those kinds of towers but now we find out that most of those multinationals have moved out of Nigeria.
“Most of the plots in central area were fragmented into smaller buildings to encourage fast development of buildings where people can do their businesses easily but you see even with that I think the economic downturn in the country has not helped matters.’’
“The other parts where we are supposed to have real shopping centres, cinemas, nightlife and all those things you find out that in the night Abuja is quiet because people who were allocated plots in those areas didn’t have the financial capacity to build those kind of structures.
“So in that aspect the Abuja master plan did not achieve much,” he said.
Kwamkur said that many foreigners had acknowledged that FCTA had done very well in developing the city, adding that “Abuja is as beautiful as any other capital city in the world’’.
He, therefore, advised developers to always consult the Department of Development Control when developing their land to avoid contravening the master plan.
He noted that the plan was supposed to be reviewed after 25 years, adding that efforts were on to accommodate some changes due to technological advancement.
However, the Adkan Residents’ Estate Association, Gwarinpa II, Abuja, has criticised the distortion of the estate’s plan as its initial plan was residential.
In view of this, residents urged the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) to maintain the original design of the estate.
Mr Kabir Akanbi, the Chairman of the association, had recently at a news conference intimated the public of the problems encountered by the residents in recent times.
Akanbi, however, alleged that FHA had taken to selling off some parts of the estate that were meant for recreational facilities for the residents for commercial purposes.
“The estate was to be a district centre meant to cater for the diverse needs necessary to have a sustainable society.
“The district was to house a recreational centre, a police station, a market and religious centres, among other things,” he said.
According to him, certain areas are also marked and designated as green areas. These were meant to complement the aesthetics in the estate.
“As one of the earliest estate, Adkan Estate was built in accordance with this plan.
“However, the prospect of residents enjoying these utilities was cut short as the FHA moved into selling off the land within the district centre for commercial purposes.
“This naturally led to incidences of insecurity particularly rising cases of theft within the estate and with the traffic left unmanned; a number of cases of children being knocked down by vehicles were reported,’’ Akanbi said.
Akani said the places the FHA allegedly was about to acquire include the service lanes stretching from CITEC Villas all the way to Sixth Avenue in Gwarinpa.
It will be recalled that the association had once dragged the FHA to court over what it alleged as illegal appropriation of land.
However, Mr Kenneth Chigelu of the Public Relations Unit of FHA said the authority dissociated itself from the purported sales on the social media of land in Adkan Model City Estate.
He described the sale as a scam and not from Federal Housing Authority or any of its agents, saying the general public was hereby advised to beware.
By Salisu Sani-Idris