Friday, September 12, 2014 7:32 am
The Minister of Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Bala Mohammed, has said that 53 per cent of work on Abuja Light Rail project has been executed.
Mohammed, who was represented by Mr Obinna Chukwu, the Permanent Secretary in the FCT, made the fact known when he hosted participants of the National Defence College Course 23.
The minister spoke on the topic, “ Investing in building a capital city’’.
He said the integrated rail system was targeted at bringing thousands of commuters from the satellite towns into the city centre.
He said although contract for the project was awarded in 2007, the actual work began on the site with the procurement of the Chinese loan in 2012.
“The rail network when fully operational will provide full time employment for 20,000 people as the administration has set a benchmark of opening up, at least, 10 new districts by 2015,’’ Mohammed said.
While highlighting the infrastructure deficit challenge in the territory, the minister said the aggregate infrastructural development in the FCT, which had been funded mostly by government, was about 30 per cent.
He said that the infrastructure and services were over-stretched, adding the FCT was planned with only one million people in mind but its current population had exploded to five million.
“There is an increasing cost on resettlement and compensation which is becoming unwieldy. FCT requires N200 billion to resettle and compensate those living in the Federal Capital City.
“The demographics have shown the need for Abuja as an emerging city to address the infrastructural deficit,’’ Mohammed said.
He listed some of the ongoing projects as the rehabilitation and expansion of Airport Expressway Lot 1 and Lot 2 which had reached 90 per cent and 98 per cent completion respectively.
Others are reconstruction of Lower Usuma Dam-Gurara Dam-Jere Road project was now 93 per cent completed.
He said with some efforts being made by the administration, the housing deficit would be reduced by 20 per cent and cost of leasing by 15 per cent.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Mr Aliyu Lawal, said the 118 participants of the course, including eight foreigners, were on an environmental tour.
“Essence of the visit is to launch us into the environment we are operating.
“The way the course is designed is that we need to give respect to whom it is due. The course is an 11- month 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, then we will write our report,’’ he said.