•Vows to continue demolition of illegal structures
Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, yesterday defended the capital city’s N61.5 billion 2023 supplementary budget before the relevant Senate and House of Representatives Committees.
He said the budget revenue sources would be made up of inflows from Paris Club Refund, Payee Tax Liabilities, Special Intervention Funds (palliatives), Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and the Infrastructure Support Fund.
Wike said the Paris Club Refund supplementary revenue stood at N25,790.082,458; refund of IPPIS/PAYE N14,320,372,647.53; Special Intervention Fund N5,000,000,000.00; IGR N9,443,323,154.00 and Infrastructure support fund N7,000,000,000.00.
The minister said that the top of the list of priority projects will include the Abuja rail mass transit, provision of mass transit buses/rehabilitation of existing and serviceable ones and expansion of roads.
He told members of the committees that the amount was required to complete projects that would have direct bearing on Abuja residents in the first year of President Bola Tinubu in office.
He also identified other key projects to include the rehabilitation of National Christian Centre and the rehabilitation of National Mosque in Abuja.
Wike said most of the strategic projects awarded for years were abandoned due to lack of funding, which he said his administration would not tolerate.
“The projects were awarded before I became the minister but I will ensure that they are completed. Projects of national impact cannot be abandoned.
“The vice president’s residence was awarded in 2010 at the cost of N7 billion, but was abandoned, with Millennium Towers at the cost of N9 billion which was also abandoned. I have visited the project areas and checked the situation of things and have directed work to resume,” Wike said.
In response to appeal by members of the National Assembly to put a human face to the spate of demolition, Wike vowed to sustain demolition of illegal structures in FCT.
He said his administration would demolish any building or structure that falls short of the standard guidelines of the Abuja master plan.
He warned residents living in shanties and illegal settlements to start moving to the satellite towns that are legally provided for residents to stay to avoid being caught unaware by demolition.
He also alleged complicity on the part of certain officials who connived with plaintiffs to get judgments against the FCT Administration, saying there were currently over 800 litigations involving the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
The minister said the development informed his decision to engage over 30 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) to help in handling cases involving the administration.
Wike noted that lack of diligent prosecution of cases in the past by FCT officials led to the loss of numerous cases.