No Curfew in Abuja, Says FCTA
By Senator Iroegbu
Authorities of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja Friday expressed surprise that the directive of the Permanent Secretary, FCT, Nathaniel Olorunfemi on Wednesday that parks and gardens, cinema/theatres and disco/night clubs in Abuja are to close at 10p.m and the movement of children to such places limited to 6pm were blown out of proportion and clarified that curfew had not been imposed in any part of the FCT.
"FCTA has been inundated with several calls on whether curfew had been imposed in Abuja despite clarification by the FCT Police Commissioner, Mr. Haruna John. It is the responsibility of the government to impose curfew when the need arises and had at no time done that," said a statement from the FCT.
According to the statement, the FCT Security Committee with memberships cutting across the Nigeria Police Force, the Department of State Security Services as well as the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force and the Nigerian Navy met with the operators of recreational facilities where it was agreed that adequate security measures will be put in place to guarantee the safety of lives and property.
"The Administration wishes to emphasise that operators of recreational facilities must maintain high degree of security consciousness, environmental cleanliness and decency. The FCT Administration therefore urges residents of the Federal Capital Territory to go about their normal lawful businesses.
"The Administration wishes to thank the residents of the Federal Capital Territory for their understanding and solicits for continued co-operation. Let's be vigilant to make our society safe and secured", it concluded.
However, some FCT residents have expressed concern that the recent directives aimed at ensuring security of lives and properties is capable of grounding the economy of the FCT.
The Chairman, National Association of Parks and Garden Owners in Abuja, Chibuzor Udebuani, regretted that FCTA has failed to look at the economic implications of such action (restriction of movement) on the lives of Nigerians who depend on the parks and gardens for their livelihood.
Udebuani claimed that over 20,000 workers in various gardens and parks in addition to beer parlours, night clubs and movie theatres in the nation's capital are likely to lose their jobs this week if the administration continues with the implementation of its plan to impose restrictions on in the areas listed.
Said Udebuani: "You have to look at the unemployment problems that would arise by enforcing this restriction because some of our members have about 70 to 100 workers under their payrolls. We presently have over 200 registered members of Parks and Garden Owners in the city, and this action is going to affect these workers."
Udebuani advised the administration to beef up security in Abuja so that residents could go about their normal businesses rather than the current restriction of movement.
"What government should do is to beef up security in most of these public places and make sure that every activity is checked. If you prevent people from doing their normal duties it means there is a problem somewhere, which government could not handle, and that is why they are saying we should all close very early."
With the exception of some night clubs found at the basement of hotels like the Transcorp Hilton, Nicon Luxury, and Sheraton Hotel and Towers, other lone standing ones such as the Dome, and Ibizza among others will be affected by the movement restriction.
Source: This Day, 2nd July 2011.
FCTA orders stop-and-search in Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory Administration has ordered a beef up of security within and around Abuja to forestall further bomb blasts.
The FCT Permanent Secretary, M. Biodun Olorunfemi, gave the directive while condemning the attack on the police headquarters.
He, however, directed the FCT command of the police, the sector command of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and the FCT Directorate of Road Traffic Services to henceforth randomly stop and search vehicles in and around the FCT.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the FCT Administration, Mohammed Sule, quoted the permanent secretary as describing the bomb attack as ``a cowardly act''.
He appealed for calm among the residents of Abuja to allow the security agencies carry out detailed investigation to unravel the perpetrators of the dastardly act.
Commiserating with the families of victims, Olorunfemi commended the National Emergency Management Agency, Federal Fire Service, FCT Fire Service and officials of the Federal Ministry of Health for their prompt response to the emergency.
Source: Daily Champion, 19th June 2011.
NGO Rehabilitates Commercial Sex Workers in the FCT
FCT Social Development Secretariat has granted Society Against Prostitution and Child Labour in Nigeria, a Non- Governmental Organisation (NGO), approval to rehabilitate commercial sex workers in the FCT.
Its coordinator, Mrs Grace Adogo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja, that the organisation was formed mainly to fight prostitution in Nigeria.
"This organisation was formed mainly to fight against prostitution; prostitution is not only about the women,'' she said.
According to her, girls will be trained in different professions, such as tailoring, hair dressing and computer skills, for a minimum of three weeks.
Adogo said that the organisation would empower girls after their training to prevent them from going back to their old lifestyle.
"We are not going to leave them empty handed. If you learn the trade of sewing, you will leave here with a sewing machine, so that you will not go and start all over.
"We also have a follow-up programme whereby we follow them up after graduation for a period of six months to one year to see their progress report.
"Those we feel that Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) can even rehabilitate by giving them jobs, we will make such request,'' she added.
She said that the organisation would give them necessary orientation, adding that the centre had more than 300 girls at the moment.
Adogo called on government to provide more accommodation for the girls as their number had continued to increase.
She said that the girls had shown satisfaction with the programme and pleaded that they would not want their identities known.
Source: Daily Champion, 4th June 2011.
Jonathan : I Won't Let Nigerians Down
By Deji Elumoye
President Goodluck Jonathan Sunday took the oath of office as Nigeria's fourth democratically elected president with a pledge not to let the citizenry down.
The President who arrived Eagle Square ,Abuja , venue of the inauguration ceremony at about 11.02 am was sworn in at 12.55 pm by the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu
Jonathan in an address read at about 1.39 pm to the teeming crowd including Presidents of no fewer than 15 African countries declared that with the mandate given to him by the electorate during the last presidential poll he will not let the people down.
According to him,"with the mandate freely given to me , I want to assure that I will not disappoint our dear people".
While calling on his opponents during the presidential election to join him in the onerous task ahead ,Jonathan said the journey of transforming Nigeria has commenced.
His words:"Era of transforming the nation has began in earnest, now is the time for action and we are now charting a path of sustained growth".
The President in emphasising the need for a strong united nation stated that the standard of living of an average Nigerian either in the South or the North is now due for an upward leap.
He also pledged to vigorously pursue the renewed war against corruption in the nation's polityOn economy ,Jonathan emphasised that he will create more jobs especially for the youth with a view to growing the nation's economy.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by all former Heads of State except Major-General Muhammadu Buhari(rtd) and General Ibrahim Babangida who were conspicuously absent.
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University Of Entertainment Opens In Abuja
BY GREGORY AUSTIN NWAKUNOR
ALL is now set for the unveiling of the Afrique Arts Academy, popularly known as The University of Entertainment.
The academy is purely an art and art related institution to provide an atmosphere where students, while in school, will interact with the world of entertainment.
The event holds on Friday May 27 at the Silverbird Galleria, Central Business District, Abuja.
According to promoters of the academy, the school aims at producing graduates who will not be jobseekers.
The Chief Co-ordinator, University of Ibadan-trained Theatre Artist, Ms. Cheta Teena Iroegbu, said: "It is our passion to provide an atmosphere where our students will interact with the world of entertainment by creating celebrity appearance platforms (CAP) for young adults to interact with stars, have them share their life experience so far in the industry and outline the advantages of being a student at Afrique Art Academy.'
We are hoping that our products, after graduation, will become Responsible, Enterprising and Effective (REE) to 'Nation Building', through Entertainment."
One of the key promoters, former PMAN President and Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria, Chief Tony Okoroji said, "the Academy is intended to become a full-fledged university of the Performing Arts or you might say a "University of Entertainment". The idea is to have an institution that provides the basic education curricula, but pays special attention to subjects in the Performing Arts sprinkled with a good flavour of practical training conducted by well-known successful practitioners in the respective areas of the arts and entertainment. Afrique Arts Academy will also deploy the latest in cutting edge technology to take its programmes to every corner of the globe."
Other promoters of Afrique Arts Academy, (AAA) working to turn it into the first University of Entertainment in the continent include broadcaster and actor, Patrick Doyle, the CEO of Now Muzik, Efe Omorogbe, CEO of Chocolate City Music, Audu Maikori, Information Technology whiz-kid, O.K. Benson and many others.
Source: The Guardian, 22nd May 2011.
Abuja indigenes lament alleged marginalisation
FROM MARTINS OLOJA, ABUJA BUREAU
INDIGENES of Abuja, under the aegis of the Original Inhabitants Development Association of Abuja (OIDAA), have alerted the government and Nigerians on the discrimination that they have been suffering.
In a statement in Abuja, OIDAA, a socio-cultural association registered last year by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), lamented that various citizens, including the President, the Vice President and members of the Federal Executive Council, vacated Abuja for their state capitals to elect their governors and state legislators while they had nowhere to go as there was no governorship election in the Federal Capital Territory.
In a statement issued yesterday, the group said: "Initially, the Abuja master-plan provided for relocation and resettlement of the indigenous population outside of the FCT, but this was not to be, as corruption in the process alongside other factors made it practically impossible to relocate the original inhabitants.
"To address this occurrence, the FCDA drew up several integration plans that rather provided for assimilation of the indigenous population and resettlement only where the Abuja master-plan was to be adversely affected and even then, to be resettled within the territory.
"Several years down the road, this has not been brought to bear as we rather face all manner and forms of marginalisation from our fellow countrymen. We are yet to be accorded our rights as a self-governing entity with administrative and political structures put in place by Acts of the National Assembly as provided for in the 1999 Constitution.
"How much more disenfranchised can a people be in our multi-ethnic/cultural society where primary identities are the key determinants in almost every federal consideration, human and material?
"While we concede to the idea of the FCT as being for all Nigerians and a befitting centre of unity, we do not accept to be marginalised and excluded in this regard. We, therefore, reiterate our call for a second tier of government for the FCT, Abuja, with instruments of government that will enable us to self-govern, as well as accord us the platform to make contributions to national development as a people.
"We certainly deserve reckoning as bona-fide citizens of Nigeria with every right to contribute to the shaping of the Nigerian dream".
Source: The Guardian, 5th May 2011.
FCTA to Investigate Land Allocations by Area Councils
By Bukola Amusan
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) is set to reposition the six area councils to enhance efficiency and delivery of democratic dividends to residents.
The FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed who disclosed this also said all land allocated by the area councils since inception of the FCTA will be investigated to determine their authenticity for subsequent issuance of Certificates of Occupancy.
He spoke while receiving the FCT elected political office holders in Abuja who paid him a thank-you visit in his office.
They also used the medium to send their congratulatory message to President Goodluck Jonathan on the success of the just-concluded general elections.
Mohammed stressed the need to reposition the area councils to make them responsive on delivering improved healthcare, qualitative education, sound environment, sanitation and well-coordinated transportation network.
The minister also disclosed that the FCTA had started issuing licences to new bus operators, adding that their services will be subsidised by the government to ensure effectiveness and sustainability.
He remarked that the administration has concluded plans to assist the FCT Command of the Nigeria Police Force by getting it re-positioned for greater challenges.
The Minister revealed that his administration had recruited over 1,000 informal informants who are usually paid stipends to nip criminal activities on the bud.
Senator Mohammed stressed that the FCT area councils will soon enjoy delegated powers to allocate certain categories of plots of land in the Territory to reduce the pressure on the centre.
He noted that all area councils' previous land allocated since the inception of the Federal Capital Territory will be scrutinised to sieve out the genuine ones for subsequent issuance of Certificates of Occupancy.
Source: The Nation, 4th May 2011
Fuel Queues Return To Abuja
JULIET ALOHAN, ABUJA
No plan to hike fuel price - NNPC
Fuel queues have resurfaced in Abuja and other parts of the country following rumours that the federal government plans to increase the price of the product. The pump price of petrol has remained at N65 per litre since it was marked up in 2007. But the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has debunked the rumours. The situation has, however, led to the build-up of long fuel queues at filling stations, leaving both motorists and commuters frustrated, even as transport fares have soared.
A statement issued yesterday by the group general manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Dr. Levi Ajuonuma, disclosed that the corporation has well over 39 days' sufficiency of petrol and other petroleum products in stock.
The NNPC spokesman described the rumoured hike in fuel price as baseless and unfounded and urged the petroleum tanker owners to release their trucks for loading of petroleum products at various depots and loading facilities in Lagos, now that the elections have ended across the country.
"The NNPC wishes to inform Nigerians that the rumoured hike in the price of PMS by the federal government is false and a mere figment of the imagination of detractors of the nation," the statement reads.
The corporation further urged petroleum tanker owners and drivers to resume loading of petroleum products in order to avoid any artificial scarcity of petroleum products, maintaining that the corporation has over 39 days of product sufficiency.
Ajuonuma, however, called on members of the public to desist from engaging in panic buying of fuel.
The current scarcity of the product has led to hikes in transport fares in Abuja, as transporters who spend hours on queues before purchasing the product claim they had to make up for the lost time by increasing fares.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP, a commercial bus driver who gave his name simply as Oscar said it was necessary for them to increase fares to make up for time lost, as they spend most part of the day on queues at the filling stations.
"You don't expect us to transport passengers at the regular fare. If we do, how then do we meet up with daily payments to the owners of the vehicles, when we spend hours queuing up at the filling station. You know most of us do not own the vehicles we drive," he explained.
Most motorists at the filling station accuse the marketers of hoarding the product to create artificial scarcity that would enable them increase the price and make quick money.
Others claimed the product is usually sold to black marketers who in turn sell to consumers for as high as N200 a litre.
"You can see the black marketers hanging around with gallons of the product, selling 10 litres for N2000. Where do they get the fuel from, yet almost all the filling stations in Abuja claim to be out of the product," a visibly angry motorist told LEADERSHIP at a Total filling station in the Central Area.
He called on the relevant government agencies to, as a matter of urgency, begin inspection to fish out and punish owners of fuel stations that are hoarding that product as well as those selling to black marketers at the detriment of Nigerians.
Source: Leadership, 3rd May 2011
Poll: Obi, EU Observer Mission, FCT Minister Optimistic
By Imam Imam and Charles Ajunwa
Anambra State Governor Peter Obi has said it was better to delay elections by few days than to end up with elections that would not be credible, urging the people of the state to come out en masse and cast their votes on new dates to be fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Also, Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, has urged the residents not to allow the shift of the National Assembly election to dampen their enthusiasm and commitment to successful polls and the democratic quest.
Obi in a broadcast to the people of the state, said Professor Attahiru Jega's apology for postponing the National Assembly election should be accepted by all as it would enhance the credibility of the electoral process.
The statement partly reads: "I wish to express in a special way my gratitude to the Anambra electorate for your understanding and calm disposition, despite the unforeseen difficulties. Surely, it is infinitely better to endure a few days' delay, for the benefit of credible elections, than to rush things and end up with a political crisis.
The European Union Election Observation Mission, on its part, has urged Nigerians not to despair following the postponement of the National Assembly elections.
It also said it was impressed by the enthusiasm amongst the Nigerian voters to participate in the elections in a generally peaceful environment.
The mission's Chief Observer, Alojz Peterle said Sunday in Lagos that the commitment shown by many polling unit staff is commendable, adding however that the mission has observed logistical deficiencies in a number of states regarding the delivery of sensitive election material, including ballots and result forms.
He added: "The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has noted the decision by INEC to postpone the elections. We understand this as an expression to sustain the commitment to conduct credible elections, in particular by providing all technical conditions."
"In this spirit, the EU EOM encourages the political parties to further respect the Code of Conduct.
Source: This Day, 4th April 2011
FCT Minister Welcomes 2,000 Defectors to PDP
Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, FCT minister, on Wednesday received over 2,000 defectors from the leading opposition parties to the People's Democratic Party (PDP) at a campaign rally in Gwagwalada, Abuja. The rally was staged to drum up support for President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP candidates for the senatorial and the House of Representatives elections in the territory. The defectors were from the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Receiving them into the PDP fold on behalf of President Jonathan, the FCT minister congratulated them for summoning the courage to dump their former parties to identify with the new face of politics which President Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo symbolise. He told them that Nigeria has passed the stage when some leaders used fear, intimidation and sentiment to coerce people to support their narrow quests for power, adding that President Jonathan believes in politics of issues, persuasion, peace and mutual respect. According to him, leadership under the Jonathan administration is founded on fear of God, sincerity, harmony and peaceful co-existence.
Mohammed condemned a section of the elite which has been striving to use the nation's religious, ethnic and regional diversities to divide Nigerians, stressing that PDP was the only true national party that cuts across all the social strata of the country. He, therefore, urged the electorate not to allow themselves to be deceived by those who preach hate and division.
On his unflinching support for the Goodluck Jonathan presidency despite his Northern origin, he said: "I'm not unaware of my position as a northerner. I'm not unaware of my position as a Muslim. I'm not unaware of my position as a Hausa/Fulani. But my belief is that all these backgrounds and realities will be given added impetus and actualisation under Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as the leader of our great country."
The leaders of the defectors from different opposition parties took turns to address the rally and explained why they decided to dump their former parties for PDP. One of the leaders, P. N. Ugochukwu, former chairman of APGA in the FCT, said they were only returning home to their original base. He regretted that most of the opposition parties lacked adequate structure in the FCT while predicting a landslide victory for PDP in the coming elections. Another speaker, Hajia Amina Alfa, former DavidANPP women leader in the FCT, said they were encouraged to defect as a result of the sterling leadership qualities exhibited by President Jonathan and the FCT minister.
At the rally, the minister presented PDP flag to the party's senatorial candidate for FCT district, Philip Tanimu Aduda and the House of Representatives candidate for Gwagwalada/Kuje/Abaji/Kwali Federal Constituency, Isa Ega Dobi.
Source: Business Day, 11th March 2011.
Master Plan: FCT Demolishes 120 Structures in Six Weeks
By Senator Iroegbu
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has demolished over 120 illegal structures in the territory between December 7, 2010 and January 26, this year, in order to keep faith with the dictates of the Abuja Master Plan.
Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed, made this disclosure weekend while reviewing the activities of the FCT Development Control Department in Abuja.
He said 64 new demolition notices had also been served on illegal structure developers in the FCT.
He revealed that another 176 illegal structures had also been marked for demolition to serve as deterrence; insisting that government was not prepared to compromise on the religious implementation of the Abuja Master Plan.
The minister said 37 shanties were also removed around the FCT, while 94 stop work and 107 quit notices were served on erring developers within the same period under review.
According to him, some of the buildings demolished under the Mass Housing Programme included structures in Wumba on Plots 118, 119, and 120, adding that more than 10 shanties were pulled down in Mbora Districts respectively, all within the city.
Mohammed said 20 illegal structures in Dutse District around Apo Village, in addition to more than 10 shanties were also brought down by his men.
In Garki I district, the minister further revealed that shanties on Plots 470, 468 and 1059 respectively had been demolished, while another nine illegal structures were demolished in Garki II district.
He further disclosed that the FCT Development Control had pulled down all structures on Plot 1290, Garki District, developed for the informal sector market by the Abuja Market Management Limited without building plan approval. He insisted that in this dispensation, there was no sacred cow.
His said: "The Development Control has also cleared illegal settlements within Mabushi Village as well as market encroaching on individual plots 938, 1666, 1668, 1669, and 1805 respectively."
He emphasised that an illegal structure being constructed on plot 760, Central Business District, was also demolished following the attempt by the developer to build after the revocation of its title.
Mohammed noted that some illegal structures were knocked down in Kubwa and Lugbe as well as in Wuye Districts in the Phase II of the FCT, adding that the FCT's development control unit had marked and re-sealed Plot 1059, Cadastral Zone B11 in Kaura District of Phase II due to development contrary to approved land use and building plan, while the foreman on site was arrested by the police due to non-compliance to notices issued.
The minister called for the understanding of property developers, stressing that since Abuja was representative of the face of Nigeria, it would be jealously guarded to minimise abuses. He also warned that the FCTA had a duty to ensure the sanctity of the Abuja Master Plan and would not fold its arms to watch illegality or its violation going on unabated.
He stressed that the exercise was on-going and would continue until the entire 250 square kilometres of the Federal Capital City, Abuja was rid of all illegal structures; maintaining that the world sees Nigeria through Abuja.
Source: This Day, 28th February 2011.
Abuja Traffic Snarl: Another Lagos In The Making
BY EJIRO ODOVA
THE ambience of the federal capital territory, Abuja was formerly that of tranquility. Then, there were a few cars and the honking of vehicle horns was minimal. This was the time the country was in the firm grip of the military and economic adventurers were on low scale. At dusk, streets were almost empty as residents hurried to their homes, leaving dark-goggled security men to comb the broad lanes. Abuja offered relief and in fact, was a haven to those who fled the bizarre and frustrating congestion of Lagos traffic.
Araba, the 14 and 18-seater buses, were the masters of the road. They faced little competition. It was also not the best of times economically for the low-income earner. The average worker earned but a paltry wage, coupled with a lot of dependants. Businesses were not thriving and the city's image as an abode of civil servants was fitting. Those who owned private cars were privileged and belonged to a higher echelon of their respective organizations.
But that was in the times of yore. Today, things are no longer the same for most residents of the FCT metropolis and its environs. The hope of a city, where heavy traffic build-up would not turn people's lives into one unending nightmare and a living hell, is over, as nerve-cracking hold-up has taken over all the roads leading into, and out of the FCT, causing road users grave pain and misery.
At first, it was a steady increase in vehicular traffic, then suddenly a surge, and then the okada invasion came along, though with some benefits. But it later became the city's dread. CityFile interviewed some residents on their plights and how they are coping with life in the capital city.
It Is A Tough Life Here
I live in Kubwa and the traffic jam along the axis has become a problem that we have to contend with everyday. When we leave home in the early hours of the morning, it is always hectic and the story is the same when coming back from work at night. We spend hours on a trip that ordinarily should not last 30 minutes. The hold-up usually starts as early as 6am and stretches down to 11pm. This is what we face on a daily basis. Atimes, I wonder if we are still living in Abuja, because it is fast becoming like the Lagos experience, where people encounter a lot of hold-up. It is really tough here. May God help us!
Residents Should Observe Traffic Rules
I wake up as early as 5am to beat the morning traffic congestion, but still end up getting trapped on the road with other motorists coming from Suleja, Zuba and travelers from neighboring states. I think the traffic situation in and around FCT is a direct effect of the population explosion in Abuja and this is one of the challenges emerging cities face, as people are constantly migrating into Abuja. However, if residents obey traffic rules and drive within reasonable speed limits, the problem of traffic congestion on the road and other roads in/outside the city centre would reduce greatly. But as long as drivers continue to overspeed and disobey traffic rules because of impatience, no matter the numbers of lanes created, the heavy traffic in FCT would persist.
FRSC Should Manage The Situation
There is no way traffic will not build up in the entry points when about 70 per cent of the population in Abuja live on the outskirts and satellite towns. Congestions will always be in-bound in the mornings and out-bound in the evenings. It is a natural law, and all the good roads in this town cannot solve the problem. The Nyanya traffic jam is simply nauseating and one would expect the A.Y.A is completed before the Abacha Barracks Road closes up. I think the contractors should be urged to speed up action. Also, FRSC volunteers should be deployed to manage these traffic crises. It has gone beyond what the police traffic officials can cope with. I understand in Lagos, they have a separate agency for traffic control called LASTMA. With the way things are going, Abuja will soon become Lagos in traffic congestion, that is if it has not already!
Heavy Congestion In Spite Of Good Roads
This city is a contradiction. There is persistent heavy traffic despite the availability of so many good roads from any of the entry points to Abuja, which makes it difficult to blame the government. Nyanya, Kubwa, and Airport Road in the morning are a nightmare to motorists. In the afternoon and evening, peculiar Lagos traffic and confusion leaves a first time caller to the city bewildered. You would be dead wrong to think that the city centre is a haven for vehicle racers. For instance, commuters along the Keffi-Abuja Road, which is the only road leading to the city centre from Nyanya, Karu, Jikwoyi, Karshi, Orozo, Kurudu, Gbegi, Gbagalape and a host of other towns like Maraba and its environs in Nasarawa State, set out to their work places as early as about 5am and yet do not arrive their destination three hours after on a road with a distance of about 10 kilometres. I heaved a sigh of relief when I was transferred to Abuja from Lagos. My joy knew no bounds because the thought of early morning traffic in Lagos was enough to make one go insane. Little did I know that my nightmare was just starting.
It's A Phase That Will Be Over
Abuja is a growing city, it has been properly designed and the development of the city is steady. In the past few years, the population has exploded, which was not envisaged in the masterplan. This is why it seems we are having the same bottleneck experienced on Lagos roads. I just hope the problem will be all over as soon as the construction work at A.Y.A is concluded. I know very soon, residents will heave a sigh of relief.
Source: The Guardian, 28th February 2011.
Redress Injustices Done to Abuja Natives – Group Urges Jonathan
By Mike Odiegwu
The National Democratic Forum has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to direct his attention to matters bearing on land reform contained in the seven-point agenda of the late President Umaru Yar'Adua.
The chairman of the forum, Mr. Jonathan Vatsa, said the President should review the Land Use Act to redress the injustices done to land owners, especially in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by land speculators.
Vatsa, in an interview with our correspondent in Minna, Niger State, said to consolidate his joint ticket with the late Yar'Adua, Jonathan should review the Land Use Act and bring respite to land owners, who had been edged out of their property by a few rich Nigerians.
He regretted that the Gwari natives in Abuja had been driven out of their land by government agents without compensation, adding that treating the matter with levity would lead to a resurgence of agitation.
He said it was unfair for the Presidency to watch as politicians and a few rich individuals forcefully possess the land belonging to the natives of Abuja without an adequate compensation.
Vatsa said that it would amount to insensitivity if the Federal Government continued to handle the rights of land owners with kid gloves.
He lamented that the Gwari or Gbaghi had been reduced to strangers in their land, alleging that greedy politicians had snatched most of the land belonging to the natives with impunity.
He observed that the natives of Abuja had in most cases received peanuts for surrendering their land.
He compared the condition of the Gwari to that of the people in the Niger Delta region, adding that the natives in Abuja should be treated like their counterparts in the South-South region.
He, however, observed that unlike the Niger Delta, where the government simply took its resources without possessing its land, the Gwari had lost both their resources and land to the government.
He blamed the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory for not mapping out a rehabilitation programme for the natives driven out of the area.
He said that in Sabon Wuse, where most of the natives were relocated, the ministry had failed to provide basic amenities, such as good roads, electricity, schools and hospitals to them.
Vatsa observed that if the trend of land snatching continued, the Gwari, who he said were predominantly farmers, would be out of business. He suggested that the elective positions in Abuja should be left for the natives of the area.
He said, "As the President is visiting Niger, we want to remind him of his promise to continue with the implementation of Yar'Adua's seven-point agenda, concentrating on land reforms.
"Our people, who are the original natives of Abuja, are suffering because their land has been taken away from them without an adequate compensation.
"A certain percentage from every plot of land sold by the consultant or any government agency responsible for the allocation of land to the public at the Federal Capital Territory should be set aside for the upkeep of the natives.
"The people of the Niger Delta region came up with militancy to fight for their impoverished land due to oil spillage and the government acted by granting them certain incentives. Why should the same treatment not be accorded to the Abuja natives, whose land has been sacrificed for us to have a federal capital territory?"
Source: Punch, 26th February 2011.
FCT Police Probe CP, DPO Clash
The Federal Capital Territory Police Command may have commenced investigations into a recent altercation between the FCT Commissioner of Police, John Haruna, and the former Life Camp Divisional Police Officer Mahmud Umar
The CP was alleged to have slapped the DPO for not providing security for the Direct Data Capturing Machine in his jurisdiction during the just concluded voter registration exercise.
Umar, a Chief Superintendent of Police, was later redeployed to the Area Commander's office for an alleged dereliction of duty.
The publication of the confrontation which embarrassed the police high command has led to the invitation of The Punch crime correspondent in Abuja, Mr. Adelani Adepegba , by the FCT Criminal Investigation Department.
The police in the invitation letter sent to the journalist on Thursday evening, said it was "a fact-finding invitation only."
Adepegba was directed to report to the deputy commissioner of police in charge of the CID, FCT Police Command on Monday.
THISDAY checks showed that the invitation was a ploy by the police to intimidate the journalist and force him to disclose the source of his information.
When contacted , a top police oficerwho spoke on condition of anonymity said he was not aware of the invitation being extended to the reporter, but promised to find out from the CID and get back, but as at the time of filing this report, he was yet to respond.
"I am not aware that he was invited, but I will find out and get back to you," he said.
Source: This Day, 21st February 2011.
How Police, Motorist Brawl Left Four Dead, Bank Burnt In Abuja
FROM ABOSEDE MUSARI, ABUJA
AN early morning brawl in Mpape, a satellite town close to Maitama in Abuja, led to the death of about four people. Eyewitnesses claimed that the victims include a taxi driver and three of his passengers, who were said to be on their way to work.
The incident was said to have occurred at about 7:30 am on Monday as a taxi driver (names unknown), made to pick a passenger at the Berger Junction end of Mpape Road, in front of Zenith Bank. Eyewitnesses, Matthew Shedrach, Oladeji Ayodele and Victoria, who spoke to journalists, said that a mobile policeman attached to the bank had made to hold down the driver, but because he tried to escape, the policeman opened fire on him.
According to them, there was a mob as a result of the incident and the mob tried to hold down the policeman when his colleague, who must have thought they would lynch him, began to open fire on the unfortunate vehicle in order to scare away the mob.
As a result, three more people were said to have died but the Commissioner of Police for FCT, Haruna John, denied, saying there was only one dead person. However, The Guardian's check on the vehicle marked XA 783 SRP, and also marked 12-533 in Abuja taxi colour, showed a pool of blood on the driver's seat.
The mob, which became angrier at the conduct of the policemen, took into the bank's premises, setting the building on fire, including all vehicles within the premises. The staff of the bank were said to have hidden in the strong room for safety before the arrival of mobile policemen, who came in two armored tanks. They too, were overpowered by the mob.
The situation was, however, brought under control with the deployment of soldiers to the scene. When The Guardian visited, large crowd gathered on the road, while armed soldiers and policemen were everywhere to ensure order.
Commuters were stranded, because there was no vehicle to convey them to their destinations. Other agencies such as Civil Defence, Fire Service, State Security Service and FCT Emergency Medical Service, were also on ground. An officer from the medical service, told reporters that the victims were taken to Asokoro District Hospital by the FCT Fire Service.
Chairman of the hospital, Dr. Bello, however informed that only the corpse of one woman was brought and had been taken to the morgue. He insisted that no other casualty was brought to the hospital.
Earlier, while addressing journalists, FCT Commissioner of Police, John Haruna, said there was only one dead person. He added that though the policeman in question had been detained, it was a case of accidental discharge. According to him, the mob, were merely criminals, who wanted to take advantage of the situation to loot the bank.
"Today would have been a very quiet day. What happened from the report we gathered is that the taxi stopped to pick or drop a passenger and one of the Mopols asked him to leave the premises. Somehow, his hand went to the trigger, the gun ought not to have been corked. Anyway, a bullet was discharged, which killed a lady, who was a passenger in the vehicle.
"Before anything could be done by other policemen and the bank management, the bank had been besieged and that was when the DPO and other officers on ground came. The policeman in this case is however, in custody."
Continuing, the police commissioner said: "Look at these people, are they normal human beings? This is a settlement of mechanics, some of them are criminals chased from Abuja. Look at the shanties they built here. Most of the criminals in Abuja end up here. Some of the kidnappers we arrested in FCT were arrested here.
"There are lots of criminals here waiting for opportunities like this to loot. Luckily, the strong room is intact. Unfortunately, vehicles have been vandalized."
Haruna noted that accidents happen and when such occur, people should not take laws into their hands. "A policeman can use his fire arms when his life is threatened and he has no other means of protecting himself, or when the life of another person is endangered and the policeman could not use any other means to curtail the situation, or when there is an insurrection, where several people are riotously assembled and having been duly warned to disperse, the assembly remains, conducting themselves in a manner that will cause injury to persons and properties.
"A policeman can use his fire arms to arrest a felon, who has taken to flight or who has been convicted for a serious crime and has escaped from custody and the policeman on duty has no other means of curtailing him. Outside these conditions, any other act by any policeman that causes the death of any person is not justifiable," he said.
Haruna added that it is the policy of the Nigeria Police Force not to condone attack on the citizenry in any manner. "We have had cases of accidental discharge, where policemen killed themselves or their colleagues, not to talk of innocent Nigerians. Any policeman that is permitted to bear firearms must have been trained, but among 12 disciples, there must be a Judas."
Source: Leadership, 6th February 2011.
Mixed reactions trail first rain in FCT
Gwagwalada (FCT) – Some residents of Gwagwalada in the FCT on Saturday expressed mixed feelings over the territory's first rain recorded on Friday night.
Some of the residents, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the downpour, which lasted for about two hours, was unusual and was likely to herald a hot weather in the territory.
Mr Samuel Lanto, a resident and farmer in the area, said the rain might not be of importance to farmers because "we cannot start planting with it".
"The rain was not expected, and even if it was, it was not expected to be heavy.
"In the past, the first rain, which is usually preceded by heavy storm, brings heat," he said
Mr Iyke Husseini, another resident, noted that FCT had not recorded any rain in February in the past six years.
He, however, said that the first rain might not herald a period of heat as widely expected.
"My happiness over the rain was that it has made the environment to be very cool and I must tell you that I enjoyed my sleep very well last night," he said.
Miss Helen Kalu, another resident, who said the rain came when it was least expected, called for greater commitment to environmental sanitation in the Gwagwalada Area Council.
"Although the rain was heavy, what we have seen in major streets in Gwagwalada is that the drains are blocked," she said.
Kalu, therefore, urged the area council to ensure that the drainage system was put in proper shape before the rainy season proper. (NAN)
Source: Vanguard, 6th February 2011.
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