Abuja land is finishing – FCT Minister raises alarm
Federal Capital Territory Minister Muhammad Bello has invited investors to take advantage of business opportunities that would be offered by the completion of the FCT Light Rail Mass Transit System while decrying the rampant mismanagement of lands by residents, warning that a time would come when land will finish. FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa-Bello. Bello said on Sunday in Abuja, during a tour of ongoing light railway project in Abuja that “the entire rail transit corridor offered an array of business opportunities for restaurant operators and shopping malls, among others.
According to him, the large swathe of space on the rail line corridors contains 12 stations, including the central metro station near the World Trade Centre in the Central Business District, Abuja. He hoped that the network would substantially increase economic activities in the territory. The minister explained that the abuse of land processes in the past which resulted in incidences of land use mismatch made him not to delve into any land allocation since he assumed office. He noted that almost all the phases within the Federal Capital City had been allocated except for Phase 5.
He added that “FCT Administration needs over N80 billion to provide infrastructure in the already allocated districts. “We are grappling with a situation where plots are allocated in a manner that outstripped the capacity of the Administration to provide infrastructure. “Most beneficiaries commenced development under the pressure for accommodation and today, we have houses built on spaces earmarked for roads, natural water ways, public utility lines and so on.”
The minister, who noted that land was a finite object, added that “a time comes when land finishes.’’ He, therefore, appealed to FCT residents to be patient with the Administration, saying “Abuja is a consciously planned and executed city in tandem with a master-plan.” On street lighting, the minister explained that the FCT was contending with the spate of vandalism of public utilities by criminals. He stated that FCT had 300 km of street lights, and given the rate of one pole per 10 meters distance, the Administration had more than over 3,000 poles which required massive amount of resources to power and to protect. He disclosed that the Administration achieved a milestone when it resolved the issue of flawed billing system which resulted in huge liability. Bello announced that the FCTA had paid all confirmed bills it inherited and ensured that power consumed by the Administration was metered to ensure appropriate billing.
Accordingly, he said, the Administration was making arrangements for off-grid solution to the perennial challenge of street lighting in the FCT and was looking the way of solar panels and generators as back-up for power during off-grid times. Bello expressed delight that some infrastructure projects would go off the budge line this year and in 2018 as work on them had either been completed or about to. He said the Administration’s strategy was to complete the Gwagwalda-Airport, Zuba-Kubwa and Keffi-Nyanya-AYA express roads; the three roads leading into and outside the city. According to him, this will also include the major city road like the Constitution and Independence Roads, among others.
The minister declared that the strategy was paying off. He announced that “our next attention is to the satellite towns. Work is now ongoing on the Dutse Alhaji-Kubwa road and the Karu Township infrastructure for which the National Executive Council approved N2.6 billion. “Attention will also be on Karshi-Apo road, among others.”