I inherited territory developing towards chaos —FCT minister

THE Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammadu Bello, on Saturday said that he met a capital that was heading towards chaotic service delivery and traffic management.

Speaking at a congress organised by the FCT Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the minister said he inherited a city whose infrastructure was grossly overstretched and whose planning was eroded and bypassed.

The minister, who was yet to appoint key officers to assist him in delivering his mandate, said that by the time he assumed duties, contractors had already stopped work and laid off their staff.

He remarked that this was why his administration might never appoint mandate secretaries and retinue of aides, as he is more concerned about strengthening institutions and allowing civil servants to run the system as it obtained internationally.

Musa however, said the territory was well conceived and planned, with first-class infrastructure, although it had grown exponentially more than any other city in Africa.

“We encouraged contractors to come back to site. For 11 months, funds were not released for capital projects, so we requested for extension of our budget by three months so as to mobilise contractors. That is why you see that semblances of work have returned.

“The focus of this government is to upgrade the slums in Abuja through urban renewal programme and not to demolish them; but demolitions will have to be made for roads and to control diseases,” he added.

Musa lamented the level of vandalism of government infrastructure that was ongoing in the territory, including that of the yet-to-be completed Abuja light rail project.

He said: “Abuja light rail project, which is now 70 percent done, will be completed by December 31, 2017.”