The 13-acre land originally spared for Bintumani Conference Hall at Aberdeen has considerably been encroached upon by land- grabbers, leaving the gigantic building squeezed in a mere six acres of land.
The efforts of the land grabbers, from investigation, has drastically undermined a USD8.2 million project presently undertaken by the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) to transform the once-dilapidated Bintumani Conference Centre, to an enviable standard; designed enough to compete with other international conference centres.
Massive construction work embarked on by mostly private individuals, especially around the immediate east wing of the conference hall has been dwarfed by the proposed huge Bintumani International Conference Hall, making it a complete eyesore at the moment. These structures erected by encroachers now have taken up most of the land intended for the conference hall project which is slated to be completed in less than three months.
Investigations conducted at the site have revealed that some of these land-grabbers have so encroached on the existing land facility of the Conference Center, to the point that the septic tank constructed for the Conference Hall has been barricaded by a private property owner.
According to a Site Engineer, the problem, especially with the positioning of the structures with the septic tank, is that the location of these structures are slope-dependent, and there could be no other suitable alternative location for the positioning of the structure near the septic tank.
Moreover, it was observed that heavy mechanical excavation is presently being undertaken at the plot of land near the Presidential Circular Road, which the engineer says, could weaken the stability of the corresponding section of the circular road, consequently posing a risk to this section of the road which could collapse, particularly during the rainy season.
Interviews conducted with presumed caretakers of the structures, especially one situated about 8 meters away from the back of the Presidential VIP Lounge, is said to be a private property, whose name the ‘caretaker’ refused to mention.
Preliminary work to commence construction is presently being done. However, it was observed that the easiest way to access the plot of land is via the Presidential Circular access road, and its entrance is adjacent to the Conference Hall.
Speaking further with other care-takers and neighbours, reveal a claim that the buildings belong to top government officials, and so-called influential people in the country.
Reports reaching Awoko, from NASSIT’s Site Engineers, the BICC Project, states that the seven acres of land presently encroached upon, is a threat to achieving the overall aspiration of the project. As part of the initial design of the project, the report went on, the land had been secured for future development in the form of constructing high-rise apartments that would offer lodging, catering and other outstanding facilities in the event the country has an international conference to host.
Such encroachments therefore, the report maintained, do not only deter the successful completion of the project but would significantly deface beautification plans of the structure, and dent the robust engineering work going on at the site.
As the Conference Centre is reportedly set to be completed in March this year, the Director of Projects and Investments, Idris Turay, said that they have made the situation known to the new Minister of Lands, Housing, Country Planning and the Environment, Musa Tarawally, to look into the case with the urgency it requires, so that plans and designs for the Conference Centre, should not be distorted by land grabbers.
They reveal that the Minister has promised that he will ensure that the land is retrieved and put back to its designated use.
By Poindexter Sama