As the two-week ultimatum issued by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Mr. Nyesom Wike, for debtors of ground rents to pay up lapse, Daily Sun investigations have revealed that top government institutions are owing hundreds of millions of naira.
For instance, financial institutions like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Bank of Industries (BOI) and Bank of Commerce are among leading debtors that have failed to pay up their outstanding ground rents owed the FCT Administration.
The CBN, according to available records, is owing an outstanding of over N32 million for its headquarters located in the Central Area of the FCT, and another N20,627,618 for its office in Garki II.
Similarly, its subsidiary, the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) owes N41.99 million for its office on plot 54, Garki II, Abuja.
The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) also has a backlog of ground rents on several of its offices in the capital city. The fund had a debt of N7,504,564 for its office located in the central area, while its management board offices also in the central area owe about N5,480,839, N5, 013,041 and another N2,614,348 for the management board office in Asokoro, among other outlets.
The FCTA had issued a two-week ultimatum to property owners to pay up their outstanding ground rents or risk having such properties revoked by the FCTA.
Part of obligations stipulated in the Certificates of Occupancy for plots in the FCT include, “to pay in advance without demand to the FCTA, the annual ground rents from the first day of January of each year.”
A breach of this agreement stated in the Rights of Occupancy could lead to the revocation of the title document.
Though these stipulations exist, several public and private institutions have failed to meet up this annual obligations to the FCTA, leaving them with outstanding ground rents cumulatively to the tune of N35 billion.
The Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Company Limited is said to have an outstanding of N8,287,799 for its office on plot number 1423, located in the central area. While BOI has a backlog of N20,358,404 and another N12,486,075 for its offices located at the central area and Asokoro, the defunct Bank of Commerce also owes N10,155,158.
Some federal ministries, including finance, environment and foreign affairs, among others, had outstanding ground rents of N4.9 million, N9 1 million and N16.1 million respectively.
After several years of nonpayment, security agencies like the Nigerian police, civil Defence, National Intelligence Agency, also had outstanding ground rents of N30,533,906, N2,461,866 and N1,589,197 respectively.
Government institutions like the African Export-Import Bank, Afreximbank, and the African Development Bank also had significant ground rent debts for their Abuja regional office, of about N702,728 and N456,820 respectively.
Shockingly, top revenue generating agencies like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Nigerian Port Authority also made their entry to the ground rent list of debtors.
While the NNPC owed N5,419,872 for its head office at the central area, the NPA had an outstanding of N7.5 million for its property on plot 126, Central Area, while the FIRS owed N1,023,769 for its office at Wuse II and debts for a number of its offices in the capital city.
Some departments and agencies of the FCTA, like the Abuja Investments and Property Development Company Limited, APDC, Abuja Markets Management Limited, owed N38.7milliom and N68.5million, for APDC offices at Central Area, Garki II , and N35million owe by the market Management company.
The Incorporated Trustee of IBB Golf and Country Club, however tops the list of ground rent debtors with a backlog of outstanding ground debt of N184,194,846.
So far, the FCTA said it has so far recovered close to N2 billion in ground rent since the two weeks ultimatum was issued.
Acting Director, AGIS, Isiaku Alfa, told the media that there has been a surge in payment of ground rents since the minister threatened revocation and commenced publication of the debtors.
According to him, collections from June to July were at lowest ebb, but immediately after the minister’s actions in August, ground rent earnings quickly rose to N500 million, growing steadily to over N1 billion.
He said by September 17, ground rents had generated almost N2 billion for the FCTA and the figure is estimated to double by the end of the month.