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Games Village Estate: Residents, developer lock horns over new structures

Disagreement is brewing at the Games Village Estate, Abuja, over the construction of new housing units within the estate by City Gate Homes which the…

Disagreement is brewing at the Games Village Estate, Abuja, over the construction of new housing units within the estate by City Gate Homes which the residents say violates its master plan.

Our correspondents report, however, that both parties are laying claim to a subsisting court order that they said favoured their positions.

The court order, sighted by Daily Trust, was delivered by Justice O. A. Musa of the FCT High Court, Apo on November 25, 2021. It stated that “All further infrastructure development around the plot of land to be suspended, parties shall maintain status quo as ordered in February 2021 and not to interfere with access to the plot, pending the determination of this suit. The matter is adjourned to March 14th, 2022.’’

Our findings showed that the estate’s residents association has interpreted the order as stopping the developer from further carrying out constructions at the site.

On his part, however, the Chief Executive Officer of City Gate Homes, Mike Ejiogu, maintained that the court’s status quo order was explicitly to the police; that it didn’t mean his company should stop construction.

From the documents obtained by Daily Trust, the said order was given by the court following a case instituted by Bridge Poles Energy Limited which is representing City Gate Homes developers, the FCT Minister, Director of Department of Development Control, FCT, the registered trustees of the Games Village Residents’ Association and one Mr. Zira Maigadi (the president of the association as defendants in the suit.

The case was filed on December 17, 2020 where an order of interlocutory injunction restraining defendants whether by themselves, their agents, servants and or privies was sought against further entering Plot No. 1577, Cadastral Zone 511, Kaura District for the purpose of demolishing, stopping, disturbing or hindering claimants development thereon pending hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

The court order read: “It is hereby ordered as follows: that the order sought as stated on the face of the motion paper is hereby allowed and granted as prayed thus: It’s equally ordered that any person or persons i.e. 3rd & 4th defendant who disobey this order shall be sanctioned forthwith. Case adjourned to 14th April 2021 for hearing of the substantive suit.’’

According to the Board of Trustees chairman of the Games Village Residents Association, Alhaji Abdullahi Yahya, the developer is erecting structures that do not align with the existing structures within the estate as contained in the Federal Executive Council Resolution.

He said the developer was also cutting trees along the walkways a distorting the ambience of the estate.

The allegations were, however, refuted by the construction company describing them as concocted falsehoods that couldn’t hold water.

The association said it would resist encroachment by several developers and their flagrant violation of the Federal Executive Council’s Resolution on the Games Village Estate which is a threat to the infrastructural facilities.

It also called for the enforcement of the court global injunction secured by the Games Village Residents’ Association Abuja (GVRAA).

Issues the association also wants to be addressed include the erection of a fence along the property, encroaching walkways and street lights along the estate’s perimeter fence, cutting trees along walkways, the FCDA allocated of stormwater drains, sewer lines, children’s playground, amphitheatre, sports centre and green areas in the estate against destruction by new constructions.

Speaking with Daily Trust, the chairman of the residents’ association said they were not questioning the developer’s approval but that the new buildings in the estate violated the existing master plan.

He said: “Our demands and appeal as responsible citizens of this country respect for the law by allowing the court to decide on the 14th of March which is the next adjourned date so that at least every party would have been treated fairly.

“What the association wants now is that whatever they are doing should not go against the spirit of the Federal Executive Council Resolution as passed.

“That buildings in the Games Village on those land given out to developers should not accommodate anything outside the existing template. It is a three/four bedroom terrace building.

“And that the Nigeria Police should please stay out of this matter. They should allow the court to decide.

“That the developers are threatening our lives. That is not supposed to be so in this 21st century. We should try to live as law-abiding citizens. We cannot take the law into our hands. They have invaded our estates with police and they are not waiting for the court’s next date which is the 14th of March,’’ he lamented.

He further said the residents were now living in fear as “developers are allowed to come which is certainly going to overstretch the infrastructure and affect the ambience of the estate and security, sewage, water and everything there.”

A resident, Colonel Kemi Peters (rtd), said the developer’s activities had impacted the residents a lot since he started constructions and that they are not safe anymore.

“Our lives are being threatened. All we want now is for the police officers to leave the construction site. They (police) are not private guards and the developer should stop constructing and wait for the court order. It’s just around the corner,’ he added.

The CEO of City Gate Homes, Mr. Ejiogu, countered the residents’ association chairman, maintaining that he had all the relevant approval documents to construct the housing units.

He showed documents which, he said, were evidence and approvals from the authorities concerned with the constructions.

“Yes, we are doing such development in Games Village Estate and we have all the relevant documents, not just approval. Because approval is usually after you must have obtained the right of occupancy.

“We also received a certificate of occupancy before we even designed the drawings, took them to the Department of Development Control of the FCT and we also got building plan approval for that location.”

When asked if the constructions violate the Master Plan of the Federal Executive Council as alleged by the estate chairman, he said, “Well, as you know the power to allocate lands and building approval in the FCT constitutionality resides to the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, which is Mr. President. And Mr. President is also the chairman of the Federal Executive Council.

“Now, Mr. President cannot come down to exercise these powers by himself. So he is now designated by concession to the minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

“The FCT minister is exercising the power of the Federal Executive Council and also Mr. President, by allocating lands through proper documentation and channels, which he has done in this particular matter. I will show you the documents the way it goes.

“I will show you. Here is the drawing we submitted because before you can find a building in Abuja, you must have submitted the drawings to the right authority which is the Department of Development Control. They are working for the Minister to approve designs of buildings that can be developed in the FCT.

“We submitted these drawings to the development control sometime in August 2019. And as you can see here, for those of you who are used to documents like this. These are the building plans designs we submitted.

You can see this is the building plan approved by the FCT authority. Every page is stamped and signed, every page and the certificate is issued to support this right. This is what you saw on the sides. So we are building exactly what the FCT has approved.”

The CEO maintained that change is constant in life and Nigeria cannot be different, adding that houses built-in 2007 cannot be repeated in 2021.

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