ABUJA – The FCT Minister, Sen. Bala Mohammed, on Thursday reconstituted the FCT Urban and Regional Planning Tribunal to protect the Abuja Master Plan and encourage harmonious development in the Territory.
The five-member tribunal was inaugurated by a representative of the FCT Chief Judge, Justice Salisu Garba of the FCT High Court, in Abuja.
Speaking at the occasion, Mohammed said that Abuja Master Plan was developed to serve as a comprehensive framework for the development of the city.
According to the minister, all hands must be on deck to preserve the sanctity of the master plan.
“Despite the success story of Abuja being able to attract people across the globe, it has resultant effects of unauthorised developments, changes in land uses, traffic congestion and inadequacy in waste management.’’
He added that such practices were “exerting a lot of pressure on the city infrastructure and the maintenance of the Master Plan”.
Mohammed said FCT Urban and Regional Planning Tribunal was established under the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Act 1992 Cap 138 LFN 2004 and should be given leverage to operate.
He said the Tribunal was essentially to adjudicate on matters of contravention of the land uses between developers and the FCT Development Control Department.
He said it was also to assist in enforcement of standards and regulations, settle disputes arising from resettlement issues and act generally as an alternative dispute resolution institution in development matters.
The minister recalled that the FCT Urban and Regional Planning Tribunal was first established in 1990 but could not take off due to legal constraints.
He said: “In a renewed effort to put in place the necessary safe guard for the Abuja Master Plan in 2005, the FCT Administration reconstituted the Tribunal.
“In 2008, a new framework for its operation was finally approved and gazetted by the then Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice as the FCT Urban and Regional Planning (Procedure) Rules 2008.“
Responding, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Mr Ebenezer Lufadejun, promised that the members would discharge their duties without fear or favour.