Why I’ve not allocated a single plot in 19 months – FCTA Minister
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, disclosed yesterday that his administration has not made a single land allocation since assumed office because of the mistakes of the past.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja while briefing journalists on his score card during the last one and a half years of his tenure as FCT Minister, Bello said the land racketeering group that used to operate in Area 11, near the Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS) head office, had suddenly disappeared as a result.
He said institutional framework of the FCTA had been strengthened not only to ensure effective service delivery but also maintain institutional memory.
On why he has has not appointed secretaries for the secretariats, the minister said he deliberately allowed the bureaucracy to work so that the management staff would no longer rely on the mentality of having to wait for directives on everything from a minister.
“We decided to strengthen the bureaucracy by allowing the civil servants to work. When ministers come with their political appointees and are gone, there is no institutional memory. That is why we spent a lot of resources on training staff,’’ he said.
Bello also promised that his administration would not demolish buildings anyhow, but would rather prefer the global best practice of upgrading and integration where infrastructure would be put in place for the people.
It would be recalled that the Minister was sworn in as the 16th Minister November 11, 2015.
The Minister said that as the Federal Government marks second year in office, the FCTA would remain unwavering in its commitment to actualise the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari in developing the Federal Capital Territory to the expectations of residents of the city.
Bello, who noted that a lot had happened in the FCT between February of 2016 and now, said his agenda was to secure the city and the entire territory, make it environmentally friendly and responsive in terms of service delivery by all agencies of the FCTA.
He sad: “As I speak to you today, I want to reflect on the roadmap we gave ourselves. In trying to make the city environmental friendly, jointly with you, we worked on the Abuja environmental protection agency and I think with all sense of modesty, you will agree that the organization, especially within the FCC, the Federal Capital City itself has done tremendously well.
‘’Obviously, we have challenges; but as I told you, we cannot solve the challenges of FCT in one go. It has to be done systematically and step by step.
“We have been able to achieve reasonable milestones. By all standards, the city is now cleaner and greener. We are working with the Ministry of Finance to be part of those who will benefit from the green bonds, so that we deploy some buses to the Central Business Area, Suleja axis, Zuba axis.
‘’These buses are going to be environmentally friendly and not pollute the environment”.
On infrastructure, the Minister said that with the Abuja light rail system, “The tracks have all been laid and hundred per cent completed. I have had the honour of being on the tracks. We are now in the process of procuring the locomotives. The communication and signalling facilities are almost done. The workshop equipment is also being procured. All the civil and engineering works have been completed.
“By the grace of God, we are going to start the movement of passengers towards the end of this year and then by first quarter of next year, we would commence full commercial services. That I think is going to be a game changer of our city; 12 stations from Central Business District to the Abuja Airport route, starting with the metro station behind the Abuja Twin Towers and terminating at the Airport Station”.
He, however, said that the most exciting aspect was the recent the approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to extend the rail line to Kubwa as well as to do another line that starts from the Central Area and Wuse, pointing out that if that is done, then the city of Abuja can truly be called a city that has urban rail system.
The Minister, who explained while his administration put so much emphasis on completing on-going infrastructure projects saying for every project, even if it is 95 per cent done, as long as that project is not completed, the project will not benefit the society, said, “Those of you that have seen all these major projects, I think we should all feel proud. The Airport road is virtually completed with only some finishing touches going on the Bill Clinton Bridge leading to the Airport; so also the Kubwa road, the Circle road which envelop the city as well as the B6 and B12.
“That is why you notice we have concentrated on existing major construction of rail and road projects within the city because by so doing, you ease traffic congestion in the city, you open up the areas, you allow free movement of people and by extension, you become more secure; you also increase on economic activities.
Malam Bello who noted that efforts were being made to complete on-going projects within the city centre, however said that the FCT Administration did not leave out the Satellite Towns, adding, “Recently we got approval for the upgrading of the road network in Karu Satellite Town and such intervention will continue for some of the on-going projects that are also within the satellite towns.
On improved water supply to the city of Abuja, the Minister said that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved 470 million dollars for the execution of the Greater Abuja Water project, adding that the Karshi water works would soon start to boost water supply in the FCT.
He said, “With respect to hospitals, we recently opened the Zuba Cottage Hospital, Karu Hospital also should be up and doing while we also added bed spaces in some of the hospitals and more importantly also, do a lot of interventions in the schools”.
He said that his administration had trained over 12,000 staff in the ongoing training exercise that was expected to focus on three areas including effective service delivery, discipline and prudent resource management, adding that senior staff that have remained on same job for many years were given the opportunity to experience other areas of the government.
On traffic light and facility maintenance within the city, the Minister appealed to the residents to stop vandalism of important facilitie because it was a major hindrance to ensuring bright city at nights as well as 24-hour functional traffic lights across the city, just as he tasked the media to help in sensitising the public, adding that government alone could not do everything.
On Apo-Karshi road, “I personally thought that by now, this road would have been completed but we are working on it seriously and by the grace of God, it will be done”.
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