From Fred Itua, Abuja
MINISTER of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Muhammad Bello, has charged landlords in the territory to ensure that their buildings are used only for the purposes they were designed in the Abuja Master Plan.
The minister gave the charge when Nyanya (Phase I) Landlords Association, Abuja, visited him in his office at Area 11, Garki I District.
The minister said the directive became necessary to end the practice where landlords converted residential properties into nightclubs, brothels and worship centres, contrary to the purposes for which they were designed and approved by the FCT Development Control Department.
Bello stated that as community leaders, the landlords had a duty to insist that anybody living in their properties subscribed to basic minimum standards of behaviour agreed between them and the tenants.
His words: “A lot of activities take place in these buildings that are illegal. They are all done in properties owned by people. For every property, there is purpose for it. If as a landlord you allow somebody to rent your house and before you know it, he converts it into a nightclub and the wrong people come there, it affects the neighbours.”
The minister said districts and communities in the FCT were designed to have areas for schools, commercial activities, residential apartments and hospitals. He, however, regretted that some landlords allowed their properties to be put to different uses, which often led to breakdown of law and order.
“If your member rents a house out and before you know it, the tenant has converted it into a church or a mosque or a nightclub and then instead of normal service time that we know, somebody will put up something at 2am; this is wrong. You have to police these things and give us report so that we can enforce,” he said.
Bello added: “You as a community, not only in Nyanya but in all communities of the FCT, it is very important that community-based associations like your own also partner with us to make sure that we bring welfare and a very conducive living environment for the people.”
Making clarifications on the Federal Capital Territory Authority’s recent decision to shut substandard schools in the territory, the minister said some of the schools operated in such deplorable conditions that were simply not conducive to learning.
“We were trying to close so many schools because most of them are not schools. There was an area where a school was located inside a brothel. You will see small children, studying in the school and just by the side, you see people moving half-naked. How can they learn in that kind of environment?” he said.
Earlier in his address, the Chairman of Nyanya (Phase I) Landlords Association, Alhaji Mamman Lawal, commended the minister for promptly addressing the problems of their community.
He said the association was ready to partner with the FCTA to solve the problem of development in the FCT.