A recent report indicated that the Nigerian Army top brass had shared out lands purportedly reserved for the building of barracks and offices and converted same to private use. More than 400 plots were carved out from Annex B Layout, Army Barracks, Cadastral Zone A. The land which is situated behind the Three Arms Zone to the east of Abuja metropolis already has some strategic military formation. These include 2 Brigade of Guards Barracks, 1Defence HQ Barrack, Fort Aguiyi-Ironsi, Camp WU Bassey and other strategic military offices. The plots were shared among some very senior military officers, serving and retired. Some also were given to friends and relations. According to the report, the land was converted from its original purpose to private allocation after the army authorities, it was said, made a case to the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and claimed that most of the senior retired officers and even some serving ones had no land in
Abuja metropolis. They, therefore, requested approval to carve out that parcel of land for private use for themselves.
If indeed this is true, it raises several important questions: Is the land that was reserved for official use no longer needed for that purpose? Is there no land within the whole of the FCT that can be allocated to these senior officers? Is it a must that these officers must have land within Abuja metropolis? What happened to the vast land around Abuja that has not been developed and could be turned into mini-cities like Gwarinpa? Are there precedents in this obvious land garb? What happened to the Obasanjo/el-Rufai initiative that set out to discourage this odium? Finally, if other past senior retired officers had converted official land to their private use, would the present crop of officers have had any land available to share?
Clearly, the whole issue smacks of dishonesty, lack of transparency and integrity. It is also an overbearing abuse of privilege. The said parcel of land should be reverted to its original purpose without further delay. As senior citizens, they may pretend to deserve land in the capital city, but so do the rest of us. The vast lands around Abuja should be developed and allocated to all who need them. The Federal Capital Territory is bigger than some states; there is enough land to go round to make coveting reserved property not only undesirable but also unnecessary.
In the light of this, we demand that a thorough investigation be carried out into this matter and, if found to be true, the land should be recovered and reverted to its original purpose. The Abuja master plan should be strictly followed. Otherwise, the nation may wake up one day to hear that the Presidential Villa has been converted to private use.