By Abdullahi Muhammad, Abuja
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Barr. Nyesom Wike has vowed to collect over N34 billion owed the FCT Administration.
Wike made this vow while speaking to members of the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee to Investigate Failure of Mass Transportation in Nigeria, during a working visit in his Area 11, Garki, Abuja office on Tuesday.
The Minister warned allottees owing the Administration for ground rents to either pay or have their property revoked and reallocated to those who could pay.
“I have calculated the debt of non payment of ground rent, which is about N34 billion and I am going to collect all of those back. I don’t care all I want is for the rent to be paid.
“We will be publishing on Thursday for all those who are meant to pay their ground rent. They will be given the grace of two weeks to pay.
“Whoever doesn’t pay, I’ll revoke it and give it to whoever will pay so that the necessary services will be rendered. People want to live in a beautiful city but don’t want to pay their dues which is impossible.”
According to him, adding that he would tie projects to this IGR so that contractors would be paid yearly and projects would no more be abandoned.
Reacting to why Lagos was succeeding in public transportation but Abuja was not, Wike explained that Lagos was a state while the “FCT is like a State”, stressing that budgetary provision for the FCT was poor.
“Our budgeting system is too poor…so how will it work? Well require your help too. Thank God I am the one to supervise this year’s budget. We will come to you, please don’t pursue us”, he appealed.
On the Abuja Urban Mass Transport Company (AUMTCO), he said: “The truth of the matter is that, am gonna overhaul the entire system.”
He disclosed that N2 billion was approved for palliatives by President Bola Tinubu for FCT in the Federal Government’s subsidy programme and his “concern was transportation, but I need to know where are we”.
The Minister lamented that AUMTCO buses were been loaned out for other uses without maintenance because “People think that government business is not their business, but where you work should be your concern”.
Hinting at the formation of cabinet net week for people to take charge the affairs, Wike assured that, “We have the capacity and we will work with what you give.”
Berating proliferation of abandoned projects in FCT, Wike revealed that the FCT was owing contractors about N1 trillion for the projects, stating that he would not initiate new ones.
“You must do what you can at a time, and leave those you cannot for other governments….Everyone is a problem. We do our own, you do your own, and everyone does his own.”
Commenting on the “poorly negotiated” Wasa affordable housing contract, the Minister wondered why over N1 billion would be spent by government to provide infrastructure for investors to build and make billions while government gets nothing,
“All those things, am gonna cancel them”, he said.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee, Afam Victor Ogene stated that his committee visited the Minister to find solutions to epileptic mass transportation in the country and FCT after over N16 billion had been put into it during Sure-P.
He disclosed that they discovered Abuja Light Rail was “a mirage of itself” during their visit to the site, and found out that Abuja which used to be dark at night suddenly is no as they could see fictional streetlight.
“Many people are saying Wike is this, Wike is that, but we need more of Wike”, he stated.
“Abuja is fine but it doesn’t have organized systems and some people are not willing to come Abuja and we are missing revenue.
“We are here to encourage you to also look into transportation to organize it. We will support you to do it and it will also solve problems of one chance in the city”, he pledged.