The FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, on Wednesday, said the Abuja Metro Line train service will be ready for commissioning in May, 2024.
The minister, who appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on the FCT to defend the administration’s N61bn Supplementary Budget, said President Bola Tinubu would commission the project in May to mark his administration’s one year in office.
The minister also said the administration had to engage some Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) to help handle over 800 cases against the administration, lamenting that lack of diligent prosecution of cases in the past by FCTA officials led to the loss of numerous cases.
Wike alleged complicity on the part of certain officials who connived with plaintiffs to get judgments against the FCTA.
He said, “I have never seen a territory with over 800 litigations. Some of these litigations were in connivance with staff of the FCT. So, I said I would engage SANs because I don’t want a situation whereby someone will go to court and then agree with the plaintiffs and judgment is entered against the FCTA.” The minister further said the budget components were projects-specific, most of which would be completed for commissioning by President Tinubu as part of activities marking his one year in office.
On security, the minister said the administration would revive the city’s mass transit system to eliminate cases of “one chance” robbery, adding that private operators would undergo security vetting before being allowed into the system.
He said he was working with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the State Security Service (SSS) with regards to providing Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) in strategic parts of the city.
On demolition, the minister said he won’t stop it, declaring that Nigerians could not desire a world-class federal capital and then make excuses for unplanned and illegal developments.
He explained that the demolitions would not be stopped as long as people continued to build on green areas, water and sewage lines and other unapproved places, adding, however, that the administration would pay compensation in areas designated for resettlement.
He further said, “We can’t stop demolitions. You cannot go and build in a green area…you want us to compensate you. Illegality is illegality. But if we want to acquire your property for development, we will pay you.”
Wike also vowed to cancel some Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) entered into by the administration with some private developers, saying those arrangements had been used to fleece the administration of billions in the past.
He said, “I will cancel several PPPs. All the PPPs in Abuja are about land and are against the FCT.”
City & Crime further reports that the N61bn FCT Supplementary Budget was drawn from its Paris Club Refund, PAYE, N5bn special presidential intervention for states, the presidential infrastructure support funds and the territory’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Chairman of the House Committee on FCT, Muktar Betara, who lauded the minister for his passion to develop the territory, however, urged him to reconsider the uniform fees for obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), saying highbrow areas like Asokoro, Maitama, Wuse and others could not have the same fees with the satellite towns.