Muhammad Musa Bello, the outgoing minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) who took over the mantle of leadership of the Nigeria’s Capital in November, 2015, would in a couple days bow out of office, at least, for the transitional period as President Muhammadu Buhari could dissolve his cabinet any moment from now.
Upon assumption of office in 2015, Bello outlined a simple plan of action which involved completion of all ongoing or abandoned projects, especially those with greatest impact on the greatest number of citizens with a particular interest to complete the three gateway roads leading into and outside the city: the Gwagwalada-Airport, Zuba Kubwa and Keffi-Nyanya-AYA express roads as well as the Constitution and Independence Roads.
He also initiated his programmes and policies aimed at building strong institutions, enhancing service delivery and improving rural infrastructure. BDSUNDAY peeped into the four years’ stewardship of the Adamawa State-born Minister of the FCT in the last four years under different sectors.
The administration of Bello has worked assiduously to provide infrastructure in Abuja city centre, satellite towns and rural settlements, particularly in the area of roads. Some of the road projects completed or nearing completion in the last four years include: Kubwa – Zuba Expressway (Outer Northern Expressway) and Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Expressway – (Airport Expressway), Bill Clinton Interchange/bridge has been completed while rehabilitation work on the Bill Clinton Drive is nearing completion after the Federal Executive Council’s (FEC) approved the sum of N1.95 billion for reconstruction and rehabilitation works.
Aso Villa Roundabout Bridge has been completed. Constitution and Independent Roads (B6 and B12) running from the National Stadium to the Three Arms Zone and back, have reached advanced stages of completion and vehicles can ply on both roads on the dual mode. East end of Inner Southern Expressway (Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Expressway) has been completed. Extension of Inner Southern Expressway (ISEX) from the Outer Southern Expressway (OSEX) to the Southern Parkway (S8/9) is being carried out at the cost of N17, 228,709,648 and has reached advanced stage.
The 15km Left-Hand Service Carriageway of the Outer Southern Expressway (OSEX) Stage II, from Ring Road 1 (RRI) Junction to Wasa Junction has been awarded and ground-breaking ceremony performed in November 20, 2017 and the contractor has since commenced work on site.
Also, the 5km Right-Hand Service Carriageway of Outer Southern Expressway (OSEX) Stage III, from Ring Road III junction to Wasa junction to the city has also been awarded at N2, 454,087,177.28. Design works have been completed while the contractor is on site.
The Administration is working diligently to ensure timely completion of the Southern Parkway. This is the 6km road complex traversing four key roads in the city’s main business districts of Garki and Central Business District. The complex network of access ways connecting CBN, FCTA, ICRC and NTA is complete while the remaining stretch that ends at Nnamdi Azikiwe Express way is ongoing. J
ahi District Engineering Infrastructure has been awarded at the cost of N60, 342,589,022.05. The contractor has commenced work as compensations for crops and economic trees have been fully paid. Provision of Access Road to Kabusa Garden Estate is ongoing, awarded at the cost of N2, 535,856,441.9.*Work would soon commence on the Wasa Resettlement I Engineering Infrastructure project valued at N26, 872,643,736 as contract agreement has been processed.
In addition over 30 pedestrian bridges along with their concrete walkways as well as several loops and flank roads which hitherto blocked major road intersections have been completed and opened thus ventilating the intersections and getting the city moving again. Replacement of stolen equipment is also another landmark achievement of the out administration.
As at inception, the administration noticed that most of the manhole covers and many components of public utilities were stolen by hoodlums. Painfully, these stolen equipment like manhole covers are being replaced with new models which are durable and uneconomical to steal. Same goes for street lighting poles and components which have been modified and made difficult for thieves to vandalize.
Apart from the infrastructure in the Abuja city centre, the administration of Bello extended its focus to the satellite towns and rural areas. Consequently, the following major works are either ongoing or substantially completed: Karshi Apo Road designed to free up the Nyanya-Karu axis by creating an alternative route to the city through the south eastern flank of the territory. Substantial work has been done on the Karshi axis. Nyanya-Gbagarape Road, measuring 1.9km has been constructed.
16.5Km Kuje-Gwagwalada bypass has been completed and Karu Phase 2 Township Infrastructure is under construction as a result of the approval by the Federal Executive Council of the sum of N2.6 billion. Shere-Galuwyi Resettlement Town Engineering Infrastructure including road networks, drainages, boreholes, electricity in the hitherto abandoned estate is now alive again.
The 17km road links up the community to Bwari and Mpape providing alternative route to Bwari. Abaji-Rubouchi Link Road is ongoing and designed to grant access to that part of FCT for the transportation of agricultural produce to the city and other parts of the country.
Abaji Ecological Control Project, a land reclamation project over a massive gully dug by erosion which was left for decades now has been executed in collaboration with the Ecological Funds Office. The Karshi Town Ecological Project which includes asphalted township roads was also carried out in collaboration with the Ecological Funds Office.
Public Utilities and Social Services
In addition to roads, bridges and rural infrastructure, public utilities have been given adequate emphasis. Prominent among them is the Phase 1 of the FCT – Abuja Mass Transit Light Rail has been completed and was commissioned by President Buhari in July, 2018. The Abuja rail kicked off with three trial coaches pending the supply of the rolling stock of 48 coaches at a revised contract sum of $823, 540,545.87 with the EXIM Bank of China providing 60percent of the project cost while FCT Administration provided 40percent.
Advance payment for FCTA’s counterpart funding for Phase 2 of the project namely Lot B comprising 26.77kmand the remaining part of Lot 1a measuring 5.7km has been processed and ready for release. Environmental Sanitation and Conservation – More staff have been recruited to strengthen the work of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB).
The Administration is also carrying out the operational maintenance for the City’s main sewage treatment plant at Wupa, at the cost of N1, 832,657,773.72. The training component of the project is ongoing. Greater Abuja Water Project which involves the construction of Water Supply Networks loops 1, 2, 5 and 6 in the Federal Capital City is being planned with a proposed $470 Million loan facility anticipated from the EXIM Bank of China.
The project is designed to extend water supply to unreached loops in the FCT and involves over 8000 kilometers of pipe network and will, upon completion, raise the level of water supply in the Territory by 50percent. Survey works have been completed; contract agreement has been signed while the loan process is being finalized.
Abaji Rural Water Works
FCTA is collaborating with the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to Mr. President on Sustainable Development Goals for completion of the Abaji Rural Water Supply project which was started under the Millennium Development Goals projects but was abandoned to rot. Joint Venture Solar Energy Project with JICA – To reduce the cost of energy in the Lower Usuma Dam Water Treatment Plant, the FCTA undertook the completion of a 1.2MW solar power project in partnership with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, (JICA). Under the joint venture project, FCTA has also completed the 1st phase of Non-Revenue Water (NRW) aimed at ensuring proper tracking and detection of illegal connections and training of 120 staff in Japan, thereby giving FCT the best corps of water management personnel across the country.
Installation of 22 Generators for Street Lighting: As a result of the ugly experience from vandalism electricity components and the rationing of power by the electricity transmission and distribution companies, the Administration had to procure 22 Generating sets as a stop gap measure during off grid periods. This has helped to maintain street lights in critical areas in the city.
In the area of land administration, thousands of title documents, including Certificates of Occupancy (Cs of O), Consents of Assignments and Subleases, have been cleared. To meet the increasing demand for land and accelerate the development of the capital city, the FCTA has recently created four new districts, namely: Mamusa North, Mamusa East, Parfun North and Parfun South. These altogetherwould provide a total of 5,000 plots for residential, institutional and commercial purposes.
The Administration has commissioned 300 housing units Capital Estate, in Kaba District on the Kubwa Express Road. This was executed by Abuja Property Development Company Ltd (APDC). It also laid the foundation for the second and third phases of this estate development initiative.
Health and Human Services
Five FCTA hospitals including Maitama, Bwari, Asokoro, Kubwa and Gwarimpa have been computerized, while the Radiology units at Gwarimpa, Wuse, Kubwa, Asokoro and Maitama hospitals have been upgraded following the procurement of CT scan Monogram Fluoroscopy Digital X -Ultra Sound Scan (USS) with cardiac activity. The Zuba Cottage Hospital and the Karu General Hospital have commenced health services since their reopening by the FCT Minister. Some renovations have been carried out and the two hospitals are fully functional. The Minister has also given approval for employment of over 113 various streams of health professionals.
The FCT Health secretariat has also secured full accreditation of FCT hospitals for residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology for five years; as well as the computerization of five FCT hospitals; establishment of 265 HIV sites in the health facilities within the six Area Councils, upgrading of one of the
Abuja central medical stores to the status of State Drugs Distribution Centre (SDDC). Others achievements in the sector are upgrading of the radiology units in the five general hospitals within the FCT as well as registration of 72 private health services and closure of 66 facilities due to failure to comply with the regulatory guidelines.
Institutions Building/Legal Backing
Upon assumption of office, Bello was concerned over incidences of high display of discretionary powers, abuse of due process and weak institutions. The first reaction was to strengthen these institutions, improve service delivery, restore due process and reinforce the observance of extant rules. Career civil servants took leadership roles in the various Secretariats, Departments and Agencies (SDAs) to enable them take initiatives and make decisions as well as build capacity before appointing political heads.
Similarly, the Administration ensured the passage of essential Bills to give legal backbone and empowerment to FCTA institutions and agencies. So far four Bills – FCT Civil Service Commission, FCT Water Board, FCT Emergency Management Agency and Abuja University of Technology, Abaji. The first two of these Bills have already been assented to by Mr. President.
Agriculture and Rural Development
In the Agricultural sector over 9000 farmers have benefitted from the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme. The FCT Agricultural Development Project (ADP) continued to provide innovative advisory services in global agricultural best practice technologies to about 200,000 farming families. It has also strengthened the capacity of 2000 farmers associations by way of training and linkage to agricultural finance. The FCT Minister similarly authorized the release of counterpart fund of N200 million, for the commencement of the World Bank Assisted Fadama III Project upon which over 200 farmers have been registered. FCTA had launched the 2018 farming season with a release of subsidized fertilizers, farm inputs and motorcycles for extension workers valued at N250 million.
Education and Social Services
In 2017 alone, the Administration spent over N9.6 billion on Education development projects. In addition, it paid out over N2.8 billion as counterpart funds owed both international partners and the Universal Basic Education Commission since 2013. Also, over N96 million scholarship arrears owed FCT students were paid out. In the period under review, it has established 15 Junior Secondary Schools, 56 primary schools and 26 ECCD (Early Childhood Care Development Centres.
In partnership with the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) FCTA has delivered top rated Nigeria/Korean Model School currently enjoying a rave review and is sure to revolutionize basic education in the Territory. Various levels of infrastructure works and facilities have been completed in the Abuja University of Technology, Abaji (AUTA), in addition to the passage of the Bill by the National Assembly.
Once assented to, the Administration would immediately roll out the admissions for commencement of formal studies. The Administration is carrying out the school feeding programme initiated by the President Buhari Administration, which, among others, has improved enrolments at the basic school level with spill-over effects on high school and tertiary school levels.
Economic Empowerment and Safety Nets
Through the Abuja Enterprise Agency, the Administration plans to create 1.5 million jobs before 2020, through the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) development fund.
FCT Administration has so far impacted on 150,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises from 2015 to date, using the CBN’s N2 billion MSME development fund and other deliberate policies. The fund has been judiciously disbursed as loans to 5,417 MSMEs in the FCT. Of this amount 2.5 percent has been channeled to people living with disabilities, in line with CBN directive.
FCTA is also subsidizing by half the N5, 000 concessionary rate required to register new MSMEs with the Corporate Affairs Commission within the three months promotional window offered by Office of the Vice President.
This is to ensure that more businesses are registered within this period to meet the targeted 1.5 million jobs by 2020. Accordingly all new businesses will be registered with N2, 500, while the Abuja Enterprises Agency settles the balance of N2, 500. FCT Administration recently created the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises State Council to develop policies aimed at reducing the challenges faced by MSMEs in the Territory.
Towards that goal, the FCTA has established the digitized one-stop shop which now caters to the needs of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs in the FCT. It has also trained 1000 Rural Youths on ICT on how to deploy Mobile App for successful entrepreneurship in the IT business or other businesses through a counterpart project with the UNESCO. In all, the FCT Administration paid N96.7 Million by way of counterpart funding to match UNESCO’s support of N42Million.
All these projects: infrastructure, utilities, public and private sector engagements as well as the railways, have created over 30,000 jobs and have helped to curb unemployment in the Territory.
The Administration inherited a wage bill amounting to over N4billion every month but despite the drastic shortfall in revenue resulting from the rollback of FCT allocation from the statutory allocation, the Administration has continued to pay the more than 27,000 staff of the FCT Administration as at when due. FCTA is also running a very effective and efficient staff bus system commenced at the inception of this Administration. In the same vein, it has allocated 70 hectares of land to carry out the Phase II of FCTA staff mass housing scheme.
The Administration also recently cleared arrears of obligations valued at over N700 million, owed over 140 retired staff members of the FCT Administration, compulsorily laid off more than 14 years ago. In the same vein, arrears of severance packages owed all former political office holders have been cleared not minding their political affiliations.
Over 3000 staff of FCT Administration including former Acting Directors were recently elevated to various grades following the recent promotion and confirmation exercises. 20 Senior Secondary Schools have been designated as Grade “A” schools and would now be headed by Principals of the equivalence of Directors, on Grade Level 17, to stem stagnations among teachers.
The above as the Permanent Secretary of the FCTA, Chinyeaka Ohaa remarked had been achieved in the last four years through application of, “a two-pronged approach and these were to block all leakages, avoid wastage and inspire an efficient and productive workforce