…Probe them now, group tells Buhari
As part of its widening investigation into fraudulent land allocations in the Federal Capital Territory, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is looking into allegations that former Ministers of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are still allocating plots of lands long after leaving office.
Already the EFCC is on the verge of charging Former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed, his sons and cronies to court over hijacking of several plots of land in Abuja and the looting of billions of naira in proceeds of land sales and illegal contract awards.
The anti-graft agency recently arrested the Director of the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS), Jamila Tangaza, over multiple plots of land she is holding in stead for Former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed and a N150 million House she lives in Asokoro as well as a contract of N800 million she awarded to her company. She was also accused of allocating lands in choice areas to relatives and cronies.
Jamila Tangaza has since been sacked by the FCT Minister, Bello Mohammed.
The Infrastructure News has learned that the EFCC is investigating land papers that indicate that former ministers, Mohammed Abba-Gana, Aliyu Modibbo, Mohammed Aliero, Nasir el-Rufai, who is presently the Governor of Kaduna State and the immediate past minister, Bala Mohammed, allegedly went away with rims of land allocation papers and continued to sign and sell them long after leaving office.
The Infrastructure News further gathered that a land mafia comprising the former ministers and their aides are in possession of land allocation papers of choice plots of land in Asokoro, Asokoro Extension, Maitama, Maitama Extension and new districts such as Jahi, Guzape among others, as issued by former ministers.
Aides of the former ministers investigations showed, meet regularly to bargain price, make concessions and take common positions on plots of land in the various districts.
Further investigations showed that major land transactions in Abuja other than core government allocations cannot take place without the ‘Abuja land mafia’.
Nigerians in diaspora seeking to buy land in the nation’s capital are referred to the former ministers and their aides, who make available land papers and options available while huge commission running into hundreds of millions are allegedly shared amongst them depending on who attracted the buyer and who is selling.
New FCT ministers, further investigations revealed, are gradually incorporated and reminded of the need to buy into the mafia code as they would become ex-ministers someday.
“This strategy disarms the new minister, who allows the former ministers to carry on with their business and even endorses land papers issued by the former ministers, thus enabling the flow of business. While in office, FCT ministers create new districts and corners hundreds of plots for themselves, families and cronies, handing them over to aides, relatives and cronies, ensure completion of all the processes including issuance of certificates of occupancy, C of Os and other papers that would authenticate such allocations.
“Actually, the sale of such plots starts while they are in office and continues for many years after their tenure in office had been forgotten”, an insider told The Infrastructure News.
A source at the EFCC confirmed that “there are several ongoing investigations in that direction. For us nothing is off the table”.
A group, Society for Good Governance (SGG), has called on President Buhari to immediately investigate the former ministers in order to unravel the continuing scam in the land department and the Abuja Geographic Information (AGIS).
“President Mohammadu Buhari has shown through his actions in government so far that he is a man of integrity. The master plan of Abuja has been terribly distorted by the activities of these scammers be they ex-ministers, former land directors and zonal land directors. These scams are common place events in the lands departments and AGIS. You could see that the head of AGIS is being investigated and was sacked as a result.
“If the former ministers and their aides are involved and it is not far from that because the EFCC has already sealed numerous houses belonging to the former FCT minister, Bala Mohammed and his sons.
“We are asking President Buhari to immediately commence a probe of the former ministers who have been drivers of this scam. Many innocent people in Nigeria and diaspora have lost billions to land scammers while many are in court over fraudulent allocation of lands.
“The President needs to look at officials who aid and abet illegal allocations even to the point of allocating plots of land already allocated to initial allottees to second and third parties without the knowledge of the original owners and the deliberate act of failing to make full disclosures of land particulars with a dubious view of allocating portions of it to other victims of the scam”, the coordinator of the group, James Pam, said.