The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), headed by Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, has presented the scorecard of its achievements since assumption of office to the National Working Committee (NWC) of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Mohammed who came in company with the Minister of State for FCT, Ms. Olajumoke Akinjide and other top FCTA officials, said a lot had been achieved within the last two years despite financial constraint.
He said the positive trends of their achievement had been tremendous as literacy rate had risen to above 71 percent, while the FCT Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had also appreciated from N4 billion to N5 billion.
The minister also disclosed how efforts to expand the development of the nation’s capital had been successful with the completion of a 10-lane Abuja-Kubwa Expressway with a link route to Kaduna, as well as the Umaru Musa Yar'Adua Expressway (Airport Road), amongst others.
The minister explained that through the land swap policy, the FCTA has been able to open new districts and accelerate infrastructure development of the FCT.
He however noted that the fund allocation to FCTA was below what was needed for the development of FCT, adding that this has made the FCTA to incur an accumulated debt of N1.3 trillion.
Mohammed also said despite the development of 10 districts, in addition to the five that were newly opened, the territory’s development was far behind the maximum number of districts in the Abuja master plan.
"We have only developed 10 districts, in addition to five that is currently being developed but it is quite far away from the 83 districts envisaged in the master plan", he said.
Responding, the national leadership of the PPDP made a passionate appeal to the minister to grant its requests for land allocation for its staff members.
National Auditor of the party, Alhaji Adewale Adeyanju, in his remarks while lauding Mohammed's explanation on land swap in the FCT, which he noted was informative, however asked Mohammed to treat with dispatch land allocation requests from the party.
Adeyanju said: "Today, I am better educated on the land swap programme of the FCT. The impression we have been given is that you are seizing land from the indigenes. Now, we are better educated.
“But I haven't heard you talk about pending application for land for PDP staff on your desk. I want to hear your explanation."
Reacting to the demand, the minister assured the PDP leadership that its requests would be given consideration as he noted that members of staff of ministries in the federal capital were being granted plots of land.
"Other ministries staff have been given, why not PDP? But other political parties are free to make formal requests, because we believe in fairness and equity," he added.
On the land swap programme, Mohammed told the PDP leadership that land was not being taken illegally from the indigenes as he submitted that the 1999 Constitution, as amended, vests the ownership of FCT land in the federal government.
He however assured the party that his ministry has a sustainable resettlement programme for the people.
"Land swap isn't to punish the indigenes, but to develop the FCT and improve social infrastructure. But we have outright resettlement programme for them. But again, we must restate that no land is forcibly taken. The constitution vests the FCT land on Mr. President," he added.
The minister also justified the demolition of structures in the federal capital as he declared that it was meant to check impunity.
"We are no longer going to condone impunity. Where we have issued deeds and titles and you encroach on the land, we owe it a duty to Nigerians to check impunity and we shall continue to do that," he said
The PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, in his remarks, lauded the developmental strides in the federal capital under the leadership of Mohammed.