Budgets N1bn to renovate Christian Center, National Mosque
By Egena Sunday Ode
The Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, has hit N200 billion annually, making it second to Lagos in IGR ranking.
FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammed Bello, who disclosed this Thursday said his administration has embarked on an aggressive drive to unseat Lagos from the first position as the highest revenue generating state in the country in the nearest future.
Mallam Bello spoke as guest at the 40th edition of the weekly ministerial briefing organized by the Presidential Communication Team, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He also revealed that the sum of N1 billion (N500 million each) has been budgeted for the renovation of the National Mosque and the National Christian Center, to make them presentable tourists sites for visitors to the capital city.
Fielding questions from newsmen on the security situation in the FCT and the menace of the motorcycle riders popularly known as Okada, the Minister said Okada riders
have become a menace in view of their criminal tendencies.
On efforts to rid the FCT of the menace, the Directorate of the Road Transport Service of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, who accompanied the Minister to the briefing said that commercial motorcyclists would now require licence to operate within the FCT and its satellite towns.
Bello said: “The FCT is the most secured part of Nigeria today. Yes, we have insecurity here and there, it is a reality and it is a phenomenon that affects not just Nigeria but even our sub region.
“But what I do know is that the security agencies in the FCT are doing extremely well. Because I will say it again for every incident that you read in the papers or you see on the social media or listen to on the radio. I tell you 10 to 15 cases have been nipped in the bud that is not out there in the public.”
The FCT Minister while answering questions on demolition of illegal structures said though it was not his priority, it has become inevitable in order to save lives..
“We will continue to save lives that is why we have to demolish illegal structures. We encourage the people to follow the rules and regulations. We will do what is beneficial to the highest number of people,” he said.
Speaking further, the Minister said that individuals who go to request for bail for apprehended criminals with the intention to unleash them back on the society should be arrested and prosecuted.
Mallam Bello made the suggestion following reports that criminals arrested and facing prosecution are being released through the intervention of prominent citizens in the territory.
He appealed to residents to expose those involved in freeing such urchins by reporting them to authorities.
He affirmed that the criminal justice system in the territory has challenges as three correctional facilities in the FCT are now filled to capacities and unable to accommodate more convicts.
According to him, criminals convicted in Abuja courts are now being sent to Suleja in Niger State and Kwffi in Nasarawa State even as he disclosed that the territory is proposing what he called a “bolster centre” to accommodate underage convicts.
He told residents of Abuja to own the city and report to security agencies any criminal activities around their vicinity.
The minister also said that he had demystified the office of the minister by devolving real powers to agencies which enables them to carry out their responsibilities without undue interference.
He blamed the need for demolition of structures in the territory on the failure of past ministers to properly carry out their responsibilities.
According to him, if agencies had been able to do their jobs, the structures earmarked for demolition would not have sprang up in the first place.
The Director, DRTS, Dr Bello Abdullateef, explained that apart from the traffic violations, the Okada riders were also being used to deliver hard drugs across the city.
According to Abdullateef, “The menace arising from many Okada riders is not just about traffic violations but also perpetration of crime. Okada is also used to deliver hard drugs across the city.
“It requires a multi sectoral approach to deal with the menace. We are introducing riders certification for those using okada for dispatch activities.
“Therefore, until you are verified by the directorate of road transport service you may not be able to ride a bike across Abuja. We are remodeling the licensing and regulations as well.
“These would be carried out to dissuade the use of Okada. Total ban has been suggested but it sti being considered.”
“Some of the contiguous states are already banning. And if we don’t ban it, FCT will be a dumping ground in a few years,” he added.