BY DAVID ADUGE-ANI
The FCT Urban and Regional Planning Tribunal (URPT) has disclosed that it received only 90 complaints, on land use contraventions, from litigants in Abuja since its inception in 1996.
Briefing newsmen on the activities of the tribunal in Abuja yesterday, the acting secretary of the tribunal, Yahaya Abubakar noted that out this number, 12 complaints were determined on their merit, while 18 complaints were struck out, for lack of diligent prosecution or want of jurisdiction, just as the trial of 53 complaints are ongoing.
Abubakar pointed out that lack awareness of the existence and the role of the tribunal, coupled with the lackadaisical attitude of some government agencies in addressing complaints involving them, as some of the challenges facing the tribunal.
He added that the public has also not been patronizing the tribunal, as expected, due to lack of knowledge of its existence, as well as the benefits derivable from it.
He continued: “Another major challenge is lack of cooperation from stakeholder departments and agencies in responding to hearing notices, giving information and forwarding cases.
Again, the tribunal is under-utilized by the department of development control, who by virtue of the Act is the enforcer of the planning law. As a quasi judicial body, the tribunal cannot initiate proceedings on its own.”
Abubakar explained further that the tribunal was set up, to among other things, remove bottlenecks associated with the implementation of the Abuja master plan, promote high public confidence and remove administrative conflicts in planning, enforcement and control.