Stories by Stanley Onyekwere
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed has revealed that the ongoing Lot 1 and 2 of the Abuja Light Rail project has reached 53 per cent completion stage.
Disclosing this yesterday when he hosted participants of the National Defense College Course 23 at the Federal Capital Territory Development conference room, in Abuja, the minister stressed that the integrated rail system is aimed at easing the transportation problems in the Territory.
In his presentation on “Investing in building a capital city,” he Minister, who was represented by the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Obinna Chukwu, said although contract for the rail project was awarded in 2007, but actual work began on the site, after the procurement of the Chinese loan in 2012.
“The rail network when fully operational should provide full time employment for 20,000 people,” he said,
Furthermore, he noted that the administration has set a benchmark of opening up at least 10 new districts by 2015.
He however, pointed out that the aggregate infrastructural development in the FCT which have been funded mostly by government is about 30 per cent.
Lamenting that the infrastructure and services in Territory are over stretched, 500 per cent more than what is available, the minister emphasized that the FCT was planned with only 1 million people in mind but its current population has exploded to 5 million.
“The demographics have shown the need for Abuja as emerging city to address the infrastructural deficit.
“There is an increasing cost on resettlement and compensation which is becoming unwieldy. FCT requires N200bn to resettle and compensate those living in the Federal Capital City,” Mohammed said.
He listed some of the ongoing projects of the administration to include the rehabilitation and expansion of Airport Expressway Lot 1 and 2 which has reached 90 per cent and 98 per cent completion respectively.
According to him, reconstruction of Lower Usuma Dam-Gurara Dam-Jere Road project is now 93 per cent completed, adding that out of the 216 Primary Health Care centres in the FCT, only 85 is functional.
He said with some efforts being made by the administration, housing deficit will be reduced by 20 per cent and cost of leasing by 15 percent.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Comodore Aliyu Baba Lawal said the 118 participants of the course including 8 foreigners were on an environmental tour.
Earlier in his remarks, the leader of delegation and Director, Curriculum Programme Development of the lDefence College, Commodore Aliyu Baba Lawal, said the essence of the visit is to familiarize with the participants with environment they are operating in.
He therefore called for continued robust collaboration between the FCT Administration and the College; pointing out that the Administration has for a long time been partnering with the College.
“The way the course is designed is that we need to give respect to whom it is due. The course is an 11 months course. We start with our environment here then we go to other states and other region.
“At the end we will take our stance on environmental issues especially with regards to the Ebola disease, thereafter we will write our report,” he explained.