• Budgets N241bn for 2016

Following a ministerial directive to rid the FCT of illegal squatters, the Department of Development Control in the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, AMMC, has given a one week ultimatum to those living in illegal settlements in the city to vacate without which further actions would be taken against them.
This was stated yesterday during a sensitisation exercise carried out by the department in some shanties and illegal mechanic and recycling workshops in Katampe, Maitama, Mabushi, Kado Kuchi, Jabi, Jahi, Asokoro, Wuye, Garki and other places.
In a chat with Nigerian Pilot during the exercise, the deputy director in charge of Monitoring and Enforcement, Department of Development Control, Mr. Sylvanus Bawa said this new approach of dialoguing with the residents was to add a human face to the exercise.
“Unlike before, we would have come with our bulldozers and remove these structures but we want the people to reason with us. We are systematically asking those concerned to comply with the directives.
“We are not just going to remove the structures at once; we are going to follow due process. There will be monitoring to see the level of compliance before further actions are taken.”
According g to him, notices have been served earlier to those operating these illegal mechanic workshops to vacate peacefully but the occupants continued their usual businesses.
Meanwhile, Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, has proposed to spend the sum of N241,467,231,031 in the 2016 fiscal year for its capital and recurrent expenditures.
Minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello dropped the hint on Thursday, during the defence of the 2016 FCT statutory budget before the Senate Committee on FCT at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.
The minister revealed that out of the N241,467,231,031 proposed, a total sum of N149,056,610,051 which represents 61.73 percent goes to capital expenditure.
Malam Bello revealed that the personnel cost gets N52,371,352,360, which also represents 21.69 percent of the total expenditure.
According to him, the overhead is the least with N40,039,268,620 out of the N241,467,231,031, which is 16.58 percent.
He noted that this year’s budget was a departure from the previous ones because of the importance his administration attached to infrastructural development of the entire Federal Capital Territory, the Minister disclosed that N2,400,000,000 has been set aside for debt servicing.
He assured that attention would mostly be given to on-going projects to fast-track solid development of the FCT.
Bello further assured that the cleanliness of Abuja remained a top priority of his administration and that was why there was a complete change of leadership at the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB, which is now being assisted with an enforcement team of 200 security personnel drawn from the Nigeria Police Force and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps led by a retired Squadron Leader.
The minister emphasised that significant activities would be noticed in that area because cleanliness had no alternative.
In his opening remarks, Chairman of the Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Dino Malaye promised that his committee would work assiduously to pass the appropriation bill into law.
He also added that this exercise was not peculiar to the FCT but in other parts of the country too as a result of brewing insecurity.
“We need to make the city safe for all. Most of these settlements are criminal hideouts.”
For their part, the mechanics stated that the time given to them to vacate was too short and besides, they should be given an alternative location before they could move from their present sites.
The chairman of the Mechanics Association who preferred anonymity stated that the economic situation in the country was terrible and therefore telling them to abandon their work was not the best.
“We all know that things are not easy in Nigeria since this new government came in. This is where we get our daily bread. Most of us have families to feed, clothe and provide shelter for; some of us even live here. Now, where do they want us to go?” he lamented.
Similarly, the chairman of the Gwan Gwan Cooperative Society, a recycling workshop in Mabushi which has been tagged illegal by the department, said the recycling plant was duly registered with Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, and provides job for over 1000 youths.
According to him, what they are doing attracts foreign investors from Japan, China, Iraq, Germany and other western countries who come to buy these waste and take abroad for recycling.
He lamented the fact that the federal government has not fully tapped the potentials of that recycling workshop.
“It is only the foreign countries that have understood the importance of this trade we do here.”
He said they are ready to comply with the directives but they needed an alternative site because it is a lucrative trade.

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