Nigeria: Galaxy Backbone shut down on controversy on land use
Development Control Department of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration on Wednesday sealed off premises of Galaxy Backbone. The government agency hosts the Information Communication Technology (ICT) portal for the Presidency, some ministries and security agencies in Abuja.
FCT authorities accused Galaxy Backbone of failing to offset a land use contravention fee amounting to N5.8 million. The said office on Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent in Wuse II is supposed to be a residential area but converted for commercial use by Galaxy Backbone, thus accumulating contravention penalty fees, FCT officials said.
Galaxy Backbone also hosts the Internet portal used by the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), Nigerian Defence Headquarters and various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), as well as the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS), State Security Services (SSS), Debt Management Office (DMO), among others.
Director Department of Development Control, Yahaya Yusuf, frowned at the increasing rate of violation of the FCT Land Use Act by property owners and vowed to seal off all other contravening premises whether government's or private. "I'm aware that Galaxy Backbone has a site at the Central Business Area, but I am not aware of its relationship with the Wuse premises.
"They don't have approval for the Wuse office, even their office in Central Business District is having some problems, but we can understand that, so, that is why we are not taking any action against them there for now.
"Where they are occupying is just an office and they are not supposed to be there. I'm fully aware of the exercise; I fully take responsibility for whatever happens, things have to be done in a proper way, and that Galaxy Backbone is a government establishment makes it necessary for the company to do the right thing," he said.
Head of Land Use Contravention Enforcement Team, Tayo Ogunkuade; and Head of Valuation, Bilhatu Daniel, who led the operation, had requested from Galaxy Backbone officials evidence of payment of the penalty charges on the property, but did not get any. Ogunkuade said, "We served them notice to show documents to use this place for commercial use since it was approved for residential purpose.
"With this notice, you are expected to pay within two weeks based on the valuation of the land and property in question. But we realised that since May that we served the notice they have not paid and since they are not taking us serious we have to seal up the premises."
But, Special Assistant to Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone, Ibrahim Waziri, who pleaded for extension of time earlier, insisted the leader of the enforcement team must sign an undertaking before sealing the premises.