For the Federal Capital City of Nigeria, to attain the standard of other Capital Cities in the whole world, the city should advance from the analogue style of developing and managing the city, to a high technology powered Information and Communication Technology ICT backbone.
This revelation was made by the Director of Finance and Administration, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council(AMMC) Hajia Safiya Tani Umar,While on interview with the Daily Times as part of the FCTA marking the one year in office of President Mohammadu Buhari and All Progressive Congress APC leadership.
According to Hajia Umar Safiya Tani, the administration, against all odds, has perfected moves to take the bull by the horn in ensuring that the right thing is done in taking the city to its enviable level.
The Director of Finance and administration, while taking a litany of reasons for the under development of the City despite Government commitments, blamed lack of patriotism among past and present public office holders, for not giving in their best in handling Government services, thereby leaving the Abuja master plan distorted.
In her explanations, The Abuja Environmental Protection Board, was esterblished in 2005 as well as other four environmental bodies such as the water board, the Social Secretarial, the Abuja Environmental Protection Board AEPB and the Abuja development control. All were brought under the supervision of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council AMMC, whose job is to coordinate their operations.
Her words “ensuring that the Abuja master plan is fully implemented as originally designed is our job. making Abuja clean, is the responsibility of the AMMC, making Tourists and other Visitors have comfortable and serene environment also. It is our responsibility to give building permit and to ensure that no one build on Government prohibited area. This is part of our environmental policing job. What we experience today in Abuja is a situation, where many projects emerge without proper design approved for it. Many companies build on sea way lines, in the process we saw many cables layed under neat Abuja by different communication companies without approvals and it shouldn’t be so. All these suppose to go in line with its original design which is already there but somebody somewhere does not want to do it”
Part of the job of AMMC in her view, is the accessing of data from every developer before embarking on any new project. Reason given, being that the present administration, is introducing something new in upgrading of the Federal Capital Territory as part of the Change, Promised to Nigerians by the President Buhari Administration. She noted that in line with the Government promises, that Abuja is a fast growing City that if nothing quickly is done to control the placing of things technologically that there will be problems in the future. “Abuja is fast growing and soon we may fall in major developmental errors. May be there has been services mismanaged and the Minister has asked us to link the city with electronic and technologically advanced ICT backbone for the monitoring of the city, as against the analogue style, that is what is obtainable in Joanesboug Aouth Africa, where the city master plan is liked to a central computer control for monitoring”
The cordinator, disclosed that her office has ordered the attention of all professional developers with outstanding contracts in the FCTA , all Capital City managers for a brief with regards to the new mandate, which she said that is already yielding result.
On the possibility of achieving the lofty idea, she stated that the case is that of addressing the issue of under development and such in the FCT is just trying to catch up with the lost years of developmental struggle to meet with other Nations.
“What is there is that we are trying to find a way of clicking to the future. Government is actually doing well but in order to kick start, we have to deal first with the attitude of the people. We know what it means to bring ‘Change’ people must key into the paradym shift, more especially when a new way of life is to be introduced as against the usual way of doing things”
She said, for the new innovation to see the light of the day, the project and new facilities must be valued by the people. It is on both sides of the divide the new innovation of Government, must be made known. The professionals to handle the project and the consumer (residents) to also embrace the new innovation.
While detailing Daily Times further, she pointed out insaciability as bane of underdeveloped FCT despite Government efforts in the past, stating that both the past and present administrators, has got this attitude of sit -tight due to the hunger to make money thereby denying good hands the opportunity to contribute their quoters in the making of the City. “It is the hunger to make money, and in a working environment, in as much as they are Nigerians, any one can hold the office. The sit tight in an office is an offence, no one should claim the monopoly of knowledge. some people want to own the office and one person should not lay claim to a Nation’s development and that is why the present administration had directed that a Director must allow his Assistants and deputies to have access to official documents in order to know what is going on. And the attitude of civil servants sets back the hands of the clock as far as development is concerned”
Commenting on the sack of Directors in Abuja Environmental Protection Board AEPB) the Director of finance opined that like any other department of the AMMC, the AEPB’s case is not far from the problems being experienced from maladministrations. She said that as the coordinating body, much advises will continued to be rendered to them to brace up to occasion and work in line with Government policies.
On when Abuja will be fully technologically managed, the cordinator, shrugged on the behavioral attitudes of the entire Nigerians in welcoming innovations. She believed that it is for Nigerians to decide whether it will be now or never. She drew attentions on other cities of the World, which Nigerians travel on daily bases and also commend its beauty. Reminding that such cities being managed through advanced technology are not hoax but a reality which can be achieved across Nigerian states, if Nigerians are ready to embrace it.
Hajia Umar, thoughtfully said reminded that as lawyer, that human management is very difficult to manage, stating that the problem is not all about Government, but the problem being encountered when enforcing such laws when the citizens are not ready to comply, then the policy becomes useless. And that is because Government must respect the rights of its citizens at the other hand.
With reference to the ongoing imbroglio of resettlement of Abuja inhabitants, she recalled that the process was faulty in the sense that resettlement programme, was not in the original master plan of the FCT. And the resettlement programme for the indigent people was an accident inflicting problems to Government because the peoples’ agitation for resettlement altered the original master plan.
Commenting on the possible pragmatic environmental cleanliness of the city as a priority of the present administration, Hajia Umar, was quick to note that remaining miscreants, hoodlums in the FCT, will soon be facing hard times due to the upcoming environmental laws. She said that thousands of miscreants seen in Abuja had the minds sets that Abuja is a Gold mine. she stressing that usually, life turn not to be what people envisaged, thereby leaving them with no choice than littering the streets, living under uncompleted buildings and constituting all manners of vices.
Her words “people who come into Abuja, don’t see Abuja as where law is obeyed, the attitude is that the residents of Abuja are privileged people because that is where Nigerian money is eaten. So they too have com to take their share of the cake only to meet something different. Churches contributes in defying Abuja by posting all manner of bills advertising their programmes and making the city look very filthy. They only think of making it in a day they do not think of the law. How about the keke napeb operators, the beggars who with the aggressive mind to meet the rich and beg for money. We have evacuated over 5, 000 miscreants. At shehu shagari way, where we uprooted trees to ensure that people living there are exposed, at Limpopo street at area 1 Garki, towards Apo, we discovered that people sleep under the bridge”
While pointing out the collaboration of some Government officials, who aid such illicit activities, by collecting money from them and allowing them to stay. she revealed that during one of the rade carried out by her agency, it was discovered that inside such uncompleted buildings, there are electricity, water sources. Also under the bridges they has conectivities of power where the miscreants recharge their cell phones. She noted that all these amenities are being recorded on the bills of Government hence the users go scott free.
The AMMC cordinator, siting the constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria section 45 said that it states how one can lose his fundermental human right, hence a situation where a person who supposes to protect the law, now becomes the law breaker. ” In Abuja people have decided not to obey the law but the good thing is that the legal secretarial is updating the FCT laws to take care of such issues”
Hajia Umar, however, was keen to work with a pragmatic Minister who goes out in the night to take a look and see the beauty of the city as well as identify where there is problems.
“The minister goes out in the night all alone and see level of damage of electric poles and streetlights. He calls me and other directors to tell us at which point he is speaking from and the fault he detected. This is an indication that he wants to work and that I believe will make others sit up”
With the new Ministerial appointment, the AMMC, has cleared all the cities off the media ‘bills’ and the metropolitan city will be policed by the environmental control. She also said that the minister, has ordered. Market management to ensure that all shopping complex and markets, has a centralised power source such she said, is in an effort to cub incessant fire outbreak and noisy environment.
“This according to the management, remains one of the prerequisite for the approval of a building plan. Also a team of tax force has been deployed to arrest people operating illegal motor parks. This group also, has been advised to move to the designated motor parks and if the Minister, approves what we recommended to him, then it must be enforced”
Part of the standing order giving by the present administration is to clear all the uncompleted building off hoodlums, with the mandate to the owners of such buildings to complete its development or lose the ownership. She moubbled number of times past FCT administration placed adverts to make people do the right thing.
“Most of them are to face revocation because to punish offenders of wrong property use, is under our purview. We have already summoned them and had presented our memo to the Government for the next action”
She also revealed moves being made by the council, to enable the communities key into the development plan. “We are making use of their unions to pass our massages across to them so that there will be a stop in littering Abuja. The Keke Napep Union, ‘Baba bowler’. Refuse scavengers,The village traditional heads and the mai Guards ‘domestic security’. Whom we discovered habour miscreants in the uncompleted buildings. We called them at a central disclosure and appealed to them to stop the act of littering Abuja and we did that in order not to infringe on fundermental human rights.”
Hajia Umar, however, appealed to first time visitors to Abuja, to first of all try to approach AMMC to obtain informations about the Federal Capital Territory and know how to stay safe and unharrassed by the authority. She said that the management gives out informations free to those who request for it.