By Uche Amunike
The Minister of Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA, Nyesom Wike, has announced the revocation of 165 plots of land, some of which belong to notable Nigerians, in the Federal Capital Territory.
According to a document signed and released by the permanent secretary of the FCT, Olushade Adeshola and released to Newsmen, the reasons for the revocation of the said lands bordered on violation and contravention of the terms of development of the Right of Occupancy.
It partly read: ‘The Federal Capital Territory Administration hereby informs the general public that the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, has in the exercise of the powers conferred on him under Section 28 (5) (a) and (b) of the Land Use Act, 1978, revoked the underlined plots with names and titles as reflected in our records for continued co travertine of the terms of development of the Right of Occupancy to wit non-development.’
Some notable dignitaries in Nigeria were affected by the revocation. They include Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 General election, Mr Peter Obi, former governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke, late publisher of the Leadership Newspaper, Sam Nda-Isaiah and first Minister of Niger Delta, Ufot Joseph Ekaette.
Recall that on the day Nyesom Wike assumed office as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, he did state that he would revoke any land that contravened the Abuja Land Use Act, no matter whose ox is gored. The plots of land are located in Maitama, Asokoro, Gudu, Wuye and other high brow areas.
Meanwhile, it hasn’t all been smooth between FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike and the Senator representing the Federal Capital Territory, Ireti Kingibe. This has led Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana to wade into their dispute. Falana released a statement on Monday, stressing that Wike’s performance of duties was not subject to the oversight of the National Assembly or Kingibe.
Kingsley had warned Wike to desist from carrying out any duties without getting the approval of the National Assembly as he lacks executive powers, but rather, is bound by the laws passed by the legislature.
Her words: ‘You also have to remember that the minister of the FCT – I’m not sure we have had a former governor as a minister, I think we have had one. Some [former] governors may think that as an FCT minister, the minister does not have executive powers. He works hand-in-hand with the National Assembly and the president to administer the FCT.’
Falana, however explained that Kingibe was wrong by asserting that the National Assembly was supposed to give approval before Wike carried out certain duties. Based on an analysis of the Nigerian constitution, Falana clarified: ‘The distinguished senator is wrong. The power of the executive with respect to the FCT lies with the President. Making laws and passing laws for the FCT are the business of the National Assembly.’
‘Section 299(a) of the constitution provides: The provisions of this constitution shall apply to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja as if it were one of the states of the Federation; and accordingly: (a) all the legislative powers, the executive powers and the judicial powers vested in the House of Assembly, the governor of a state and in the courts of a state shall, respectively, vest in the National Assembly, the President of the Federation and in the courts which by virtue of the foregoing provisions are courts established for the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.’
He maintained that the president possessed executive powers of the FCT and delegates them to the ministers as he so pleases. Also, the minister can act in the capacity of the president, who is the governor of the FCT. So, Nyesom Wike, is in fact, acting, based on the powers delegated to him by the president.