The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, at the weekend stated that the available infrastructure in the territory was overstretched by a whopping 500 per cent.
Mohammed disclosed this when he received a delegation from the National Defence College, Zimbabwe in Abuja.
He said the urbanisation growth rate of FCT had continued to rise steadily and currently stands at 9.1 per cent. The minister pointed out that whereas the current population of FCT stands at about five million, the available infrastructure can accommodate only one million persons.
He said a combination of factors makes Abuja very attractive to many people.
He listed the factors as centrality of location, easy accessibility for all Nigerians, clement weather, relative security and ethnic neutrality.
For these reasons, all those seeking safer abode, better economic opportunities, recreation and comfort have found Abuja as their preferred choice.
The minister said N200billion was required for the FCT Administration to fully address the backlog of resettlement and compensation within the Federal Capital City (FCC) alone.
He described the problem of resettlement and compensation of the original inhabitants as a major challenge to the federal government and successive FCT administrations. According to him, â€œthe cost of resettlement and compensation has continued to increase year after year since the creation of FCT 38 years ago due to steady rise of population and economic activities on the part of the original dwellers. The challenge has snowballed into a huge impediment to infrastructural and housing development in the FCT.â€
Mohammed said the land swap programme was introduced by his administration as a measure to accelerate infrastructural development and at the same time address the resettlement and compensation needs of the affected original inhabitants.
He gave the total land area for the land swap programme as 4,253 hectares covering 10 districts which are to be developed by 15 reputable companies.
The total expected private capital investment inflow through the land swap stands at $3.8billion or N646billion.
He said the FCT Administration has attracted other investments like the $2.7billion (N459billion) Abuja City Centre project by the Chicason Group and the $1.2billion (N204billion) World Trade Centre.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Air-Vice Marshal Michael Moyo had told the minister that the delegation comprised officers drawn from all parts of the Zimbabwean armed forces.
He said they were in Nigeria to learn new things that would help them improve their professional duties as well as other matters relating to infrastructure, agriculture, transportation and municipal management work in Africa.
Delivering the vote of thanks, a member of the delegation, Col. Lindiwe Ngwenya, described Abuja as a befitting image of Nigeria.
She thanked the FCT minister for the hospitality extended to them.