Wike

500 hectares of land was awarded illegally in FCTA — Wike

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On Monday, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Barrister Nyesom Wike, painstakingly gave a vivid account of how a land director and a lawyer engaged by the FCT administration unilaterally connived to issue 500 hectares of land with infrastructure to an individual who in turn sold the land.

According to the Minister who spoke during the 2023 budget defence and 2024 proposal before the House Committee on FCT chaired by Hon. Aliyu Muktar Betara, the embattled Director of Land gave the illegal approval a few days after the immediate past FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello, left the office on May 29, 2023.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari and his cabinet members (Ministers) left the office on May 29, 2023, and handed it over to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

While insisting that the Director of Land lacks the capacity to act on behalf of the FCT Minister, Barrister Wike noted that Carl had last Thursday gotten a court injunction to stop the planned commissioning of the Sunrise Motor Park this week Friday, which he described as the biggest in West Africa and compared to Disney Park.

He noted that such infrastructure would attract investment, boost the administration’s revenue drives, and create employment for teeming Nigerians.

While giving an update on the Legal Services Secretariat’s proposed budget of N5,583,687,567, out of which N1.300 billion is for capital expenditure, Barrister Wike observed that the administration currently has more than 600 cases in courts across the territory.

He disclosed that “every year we have suits not less than 1,000, and all these require a lot of money. As we speak today, we have more than 600 judgements on FCT; some of them are legal, and some of them are civil servants.”

While noting that, “it’s very embarrassing that the former Minister left on May 29. In June, a Director of Land signed 500 hectares of land to an individual. And the individual, of course, goes to this court and gets judgement; the individual goes here and gets judgement; for me, such judgement will not stand. I’m going to demolish the plaza first if you tell our lawyer.

“There are certain things we cannot accept. So, whoever is involved, it doesn’t matter who is involved; the Director of Land cannot act as Minister; it cannot work,” he maintained.

Continuing, the FCT Minister said, “Do you know what this individual did? In connivance with the FCT lawyer, he went to court on Thursday to get an order stopping the commissioning of this park.

“Of course, this is a state; I have to take the file away from the lawyer… I don’t know if anyone can come to you.

“If you’re given 500 hectares, as I thought, you are authorised to do mass housing. Now what they are doing is allocating land to an individual and selling it.

“I’ve never seen that. One man covers 500 hectares. Meanwhile, the government has provided infrastructure. So, when you hear it, as your friend and brother, you have heard it now,” he told the lawmakers of the looming problem his decision may cause.

While giving an update on this year’s proposed budget, the Minister disclosed that a fiscal framework of the sum of N1,147,780,610,283, comprising distributable revenue of N510,364,426,028 and non-distributable revenue of N637,416,184,256, has been proposed for the FCT 2024 Statutory Budget after due deliberations with all the Revenue Generating Agencies of the FCTA.

When compared with the Revised 2023 Appropriation of the sum of N641,247,685,792, there is an increase of the sum of N506,532,924,491.44 (44%) in the 2024 statutory budget proposal.

According to him, the increase was a result of the expected loan from the Commercial Bank in the sum of N500 billion.

For overhead costs, the FCT Minister disclosed that the sum of N280,527,373,668 (24.44%) was proposed for the 2024 fiscal year against an appropriation of the sum of N135,413,919,180 in the 2023 fiscal year, representing an increase of N145,113,454,488.64 (52%), in order to address some critical overhead costs.

Under the Capital Expenditure, the Minister proposed the sum of N726,338,232,759 representing 63.28% for 2024 for the development of infrastructure with emphasis on completion of ongoing projects, showing a 44% increase over the 2023 Revised Appropriation of the sum of N406,298,063,083.

According to him, out of the proposed capital expenditure, the sum of N80 billion is for SUKUK Loan Projects, N29 billion is for the Abuja Light Rail Project, and the sum of N500 billion is for commercial loans planned to complete the ongoing capital projects in FCC and Satellite Towns, while the balance sum of N117,338,232,759 is dedicated to the completion of the ongoing capital projects and other counterpart-funded related projects aimed at enhancing the socio-economic activities of the FCT. 6

For the transportation sector, the FCT Administration proposed a sum of N69 billion, out of which N73 billion is proposed for recurrent expenditure in the 2024 fiscal year and N61.6 billion is proposed for the capital budget for the year 2024.

Out of this, the sum of N29.6 billion is for the Abuja Light Rail Project rolling stock and provisions for other phases, and the sum of N32 billion is proposed for the construction of bus terminals in Kugbo, Jahi, and the Centre Business District of FCT.

For the education sector, the minister proposed a sum of N80.3 billion, out of which N56 billion is for recurrent expenditure and N24 billion is for capital expenditure, which includes the sum of N2 billion as UBEB counterpart funding in the 2024 Statutory Budget.

For the health sector, the FCTA proposed a sum of N45.7 billion, out of which the sum of N35.5 billion is for recurrent expenditure, which includes the sum of N1.3 billion for the Drug Revolving Fund, while the sum of N10.2 billion is for capital expenditure.

The FCT 2024 Statutory Budget seeks to complete the construction of hospitals in Gwagwalada, Gwarimpa, and Utako Districts to enhance the capacity of some of our hospitals through the procurement of modern ambulances for 8 FCTA hospitals.

For the Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS) budget proposal, the FCT Minister disclosed that the sum of N1,154,913,273 was proposed for the provision of state-of-the-art geo-spatial data infrastructure and management of the Land Information System with a view to enhancing its revenue generation.

For the Area Council Services Secretariat (ACSS), the sum of N4,152,146,290 was proposed with a view to ensuring effective and efficient service delivery for rural transformation, improving the quality of lives of the citizens, and strengthening the traditional institutions as effective tools for mobilisation of the grassroots in order to achieve the developmental goals of the FCT Administration.

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