Monday, February 4, 2013

FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed, Justifies Allocation Of N4bn For First Ladies Building

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minster, Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, has made a futile attempt at justifying the allocation of N4bn in the 2013 budget to the building the First Ladies Mission office complex in Abuja.

The Minister said that Decree No. 6 of 1976 which created Abuja simultaneously created the Federal Capital Development Authority with duty and responsibilities to plan, design, provide the infrastructure and construct public buildings as well as services to the entire 8,000 square kilometers of the FCT.


Mohammed, who spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Information Management Systems, Hajiya Jamilah Tangazah, recalled that the African First Ladies Peace Mission was created in 1996 to promote peace and harmony in Africa after the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women and its subsequent declaration in Zimbabwe during which the Organization of African Unity (now African Union) keyed in.

He said that since its inception in 1996, the organization has been debating issues of relevance to African women, children and youths, such as social justice, the environment, and human rights, especially gender equality.

The Minister said that as part of its remit to live up to its international obligations, the Federal Government accommodates certain international bodies just like it is done across the globe; adding that every year, the cost of rent or accommodation for such bodies tends to be above one billion Naira.

According to him, in Abuja this obligation is transferred to the FCT administration and as part of its efficiency measures, the FCT administration saw in the proposed headquarters of the African First Ladies Peace Mission building an opportunity to save cost by using the AFLPM building to serve multiple roles in providing office accommodation as well as housing not just for the African First Ladies Peace Mission but to other international bodies as well.

Mohammed noted that from the foregoing, it can be seen that by proposing to build the AFLPM edifice, a publicly-listed building, the FCT administration is only acting in accordance with its duties and responsibilities as envisioned by the law.

The Minister emphasized that the FCT Administration has submitted the budget to the National Assembly to debate on it and give its final approval based on the requisite needs of the nation’s capital as dictated by local, national and international postulations.

He expressed happiness that based on these, the administration is convinced that the robust public debate that erupted on aspects of the proposed FCT 2013 budget will be done and guided with the fervour of a people who are conscious of their historical and current roles and are proud of their tradition not only as national, but as regional and continental leaders.

Reviewing these remarks this afternoon, a political analyst said that the Minister is simply blowing smoke.  “The question is: How do you spend N4billion, in a continent as poor as Africa, on one building that has no practical purpose, and will only be used once in many years by Africa’s most pampered and most insensitive group of people?”.

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