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FCT minister clocks one year in office, records successes

AFTER assuming office on 11th of November 2015, the current minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Musa Bello, embarked on delivering on his mandates, which included execution of development projects in the territory.

This came after giving an assurance that his administration would block all financial leakages to generate the needed funds for development projects.

He subsequently embarked on visits to several project sites including the Abuja Light Rail and the jinxed Karshi – Apo – Arah road. Included also was nocturnal tour of the city to have first-hand information on the functionality of streetlights in the territory.

The minister also paid an unscheduled visit to the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) as he prepared to battle the heaps of refuse and clean up the territory.

It was during the visit that the minister got the wind of and vowed to recover the N10.5 billion owed the Board. But this was after an immediate sack of all departmental heads of the board.

Still on environment, Bello, introduced FCT Household and Community Sanitation Exercise in Area Councils and satellite towns of the territory.

As a form of assistance, he gave out the sum of N1.6 billion as bailout to the six Area Councils to settle outstanding salaries owed their staff. The gesture came at a time when majority of states across the federation were unable to raise funds to pay debts owed their states workers.

In the area of provision of potable water, Bello, visited FCT Water Board and the Lower Usuma Dam, where he promised to improve on the supply of clean water to the residents.

Under his watch, Bello moved the Satellite Towns Development Department (STDD) to Karshi to bring the agency closer to the rural people that the department is meant to serve and to decongest the city centre. He also paid out N324 million to the contractor handling the Karshi-Apo-Ara road.

The minister, in his one year in office, set machinery in motion to sanitise processes of allocating land in the territory. To this end, he announced that the FCT Administration would, henceforth, allocate plots of land in the Abuja industrial zones to genuine manufacturers with requisite capacity to develop them.

It was on record that the minister did offset the over N2 billion owed cleaning and maintenance contractors by the previous administrations. Also, contractors owed various sums below N20 million were paid, and that amounted to over N6 billion while over N19 billion was paid to multinational contractors to enable them return to sites.

In the first quarter of 2016, the FCT administration released the sum of N5,744,835,928.38 to various development partners, being counterpart funds for projects they were executing in the territory.

The minister, within the period under review, equally paid over N1.787 billion to the Universal Basic Education Board, which included arrears that were unpaid since 2013. He further released the sum of N2,939,681,413.96 and N808,075,585.62 as counterpart funds for the Abuja Rail project as well as its Consultancy Services respectively.

Undoubtedly, the minister achieve the feats through fiscal discipline. But that was not all as Bello also set up the FCT task team on environmental protection to work alongside 200 officers/men of the Nigeria Police Force and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps for full enforcement of environmental laws. His administration has in the last one year arrested 589 hawkers, 25 cows and 51 sheep and prosecuted nine herdsmen over illegal activities.

Just as his administration was about to clock one year, the minister commenced the process of completing road projects that were stalled for years including the 10-lanes Airport (Umaru Musa Yar’Adua) and Kubwa (Murtala Muhammad) Expressways, Circle Road around the 3-Arms zone, trumpet interchange at the Airport junction by Bill Clinton Drive and Inner Southern Expressway.

Also completed are the rehabilitation of M20 road leading to the popular Utako Market Park, road shoulders along the Shehu Shagari Expressway in Maitama District as well as Ring Road 1