New NASS Principal Officers’ Residences Violate Abuja Master Plan

The location where the new official residences of the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives are being constructed fall on an unapproved zone within the Abuja Master Plan, Daily Trust has learnt.

Sources familiar with the multi-billion naira project told our correspondents that the buildings sit on a green area and do not have a building plan approval.

Normally before any building project takes place within the Federal Capital Territory, a building plan approval must be acquired from the Department of Development Control under the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council after which the project will be inspected to make sure it does not fall on an unapproved zone within the Abuja Master Plan.

It would be recalled that the official residences of both the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives were located at the Apo Legislative Quarters where most legislators of the 7th Assembly reside.

The quarters meant for the two senior legislators, were however, sold when Senator David Mark was the Senate President and Oladimeji Bankole was Speaker, House of Representatives.

Since then, it was gathered, there has not been any provision for an official residence for the principal officers of the legislature. For many years, the presiding officers of the National Assembly (NASS) have been living in personal apartments with rents being taken care of by NASS.

Daily Trust learnt that former President Goodluck Jonathan later started a new official residence for the Senate president and House speaker within the Three Arms Zone, few metres from the National Assembly complex but completion of the edifice has been severally delayed due to funding constraints.

But people familiar with the Abuja city plan told
Daily Trust that the new official residences being constructed within the Three Arms Zone, are not in the Abuja Master Plan as the area is only designated for the National Assembly complex, Supreme Court building and the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

They said the location where the buildings are being erected was designated a green area.
Green areas within the FCT are areas without residential buildings but designated for gardens and parks. They are areas with sprawling greenery of shrubs, plants trees and sometimes ponds mapped out to preserve nature in the midst of developmental constructions.

When contacted to explain why the location has been converted for construction of residences for the principal officers of the National Assembly, the Media Assistant to the Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Richard Nduul, said a master plan is not a rigid document.

“The document prescribes the pattern, controls of land uses as well as future developments in order to avoid the chaos associated with unplanned cities.

“Therefore as a guide, it could be reviewed from time to time, either on a piecemeal or a comprehensive basis to accommodate germane omissions or other unforeseen developments such as the need for new residences of principal officers of the National Assembly occasioned by the sale of their former residences as part of the monetisation policy introduced during the Obasanjo administration,” he stated.

The director, Development Control was not immediately available to shed more light on the issue.

Efforts to get response from the spokespersons of the Senate and House of Representatives failed.

Repeated calls to the House of Representatives spokesman, Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia) were not answered as at the time of filing this report.

Similarly, calls to the Senate spokesman, Senator Godiya Akwashiki (APC, Nasarawa) did not go through as his phone was switched off.

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