By Laleye Dipo
The Niger and Nasarawa State Governments will meet with President Muhammadu Buhari over their contributions to the emergence of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the refusal of the federal government to adequately abide by the agreements reached between the parties before the evolvement of the FCT.
The construction of Abuja started in the 1980s, while the seat of government was moved from Lagos to the new city in 1991.
The Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, said that he and his Nasarawa State counterpart, Abdullahi Sule, have agreed “to re-present our case before President Muhammad Buhari”.
Though Bello did not disclose when the meeting will hold, he nonetheless explained that they will impress it on the federal government that the two states have been shortchanged, adding that: “We want the issue to be reopened again in the interest of everyone”.
“We have not been adequately compensated, we don’t believe in making trouble. This is why we want to meet the president to have a second look at our case.
“There is no commensurate benefit for our sacrifices to the country. The federal government has failed to work by the agreement reached with us,” Bello declared.
The governor also stated that having reached 44 years since its creation, Niger State deserved a sustainable Development Action Plan that should be executed in the collective interest of the people.
The two states are said to have contributed a large chunk of their lands to the government for what is now known as the FCT.
For the sacrifices made by the two states, it was learnt that apart from agreeing to pay compensation to the original owners of the land, the federal government also promised to provide some basic social amenities to the two states for their contributions to the emergence of the new Nigerian capital.
Though it was said that some sort of the compensation were paid to the original owners of the land, not everyone has been paid till date.
In addition, the federal government, according to findings, has not provided any of the facilities and infrastructure it promised the two states for their sacrifices to the national course.
According to a report, the basic social infrastructure provided by the states for the benefit of their people have now been overstretched, while insecurity has been on the rise as a result of overpopulation and migration of people from Abuja and other parts of the country to both Nasarawa and Niger State towns.
Speaking further, Governor Bello said: “I want to see a changed Niger State. I want to see continuity in governance regardless of the political party. Continuity is for the benefit of our people, we must establish a robust maintenance culture and ensure that investments made over 44 years ago by our predecessors remain functional and don’t die in vain.”
The governor said it was as a result that his administration, in its first term, decided not to embark on new projects but complete the ones it inherited.
Part of the success story of the policy, Bello said, is in the education sector, where the government carried out the renovation of schools it met on ground under the Whole School Development Initiative, where many schools were either completely rebuilt or renovated across the state.