The Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engr. Umar Gambo Jibrin, has said that constructions undertaken by residents without requisite approvals from the authorities are usually built in the night at weekends.
Jibrin, who spoke exclusively to Daily Trust, said such buildings were usually susceptible to collapses, citing the example of a two storey building that recently collapsed in Dawaki, Abuja, killing four persons.
“You will be surprised that most of these illegal constructions are done in the dead of the night. Sometimes, what I do for passion is I go out on my own with a few of my colleagues at odd times. Anytime between the evening on Fridays and Monday morning, if you want to see all sorts of infractions and illegalities, you move within those periods and you’ll see most of it,” he said.
He insisted that whoever wants to build anything must seek approval before going ahead to build to avoid demolition by the department of development control or the repercussions of structural defects such as collapses.
When asked if the Dawaki building collapsed because it was illegal, he said: “It was not just illegal but completely unprofessional. I understand that not up to a week before the building collapsed, the department of development control went to the site to put a stop work on it but at the weekend, because they were working at weekends in the night, the building collapsed on a Saturday morning.
“I was there and you would discover that what happened there would not happen anywhere in a sane society. You have a bungalow, you want to raise it to two floors and you are doing it between Friday night and Sunday morning; it doesn’t make sense.
“Once the thing was seen by development control officials, it was marked but the builder refused to stop. The intention was that by Monday, they would go and remove the rubbish he was doing, but as God would have it, the thing happened on Saturday, unfortunately, there were casualties.”
He added that when people build without approvals, they should expect that their buildings would be demolished any time the authorities discover.
“You are supposed to have approval. If you don’t have an approval and you build, it will be removed. Some of these houses are built and completed within the weekend and that is why we are having building collapses.
“Some of them are not looking at anything other than to do their thing and get away with it. Because they say ‘if you see them that’s all’, but you can see whoever you want to see, when the repercussions come, you will be on your own,” Jibrin further said.
He lamented that the legal system was encumbering the removal of illegal structures by granting frivolous injunctions in favour such developers, adding that the FCDA was reaching out to the judiciary to be able to do their work professionally.
The executive secretary stressed that such recalcitrant developers would be dealt with after thorough investigations to serve as deterrent to others and to preserve the Abuja Master Plan.