The Senate Committtee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has expressed worries over the on going construction of pit toilets in the city of Abuja for commercial purpose.
The committtee stated that the constructed toilets were unhygienic, not connected to sewage system and against the status of the Abuja city.
The Senate committee however summoned the FCT Director of Land Administration, FCT Development Control, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASA) and Federal Capital Territory Water Board to appear before it on Thursday .
Speaking at an interactive session with management of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) on Monday on status of infrastructure and the FCT budget in Abuja, Chairman of the Senate committtee on FCT, Senator Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West) warned that failure to honour the summon could lead to demolition of the toilets across the city.
“If they don’t come, we should instruct FCT Development Control to pull down the toilets” he said.
According to Adeyemi “Nobody has authority over FCT than the Minister, the permanent Secretary and Executive Secretary of the FCDA, if anybody is going to use land in FCT, even if it is the federal government, it must come through the FCT. Nobody has the right to say they should just put a construction here, what kind of power is that?
“Nobody has the power to just go round Abuja to take land and say they are putting toilet and you ask somebody to be collecting money.
“It is very irritating, so you invite the Director of Land, Director of Development Control, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASA) and Federal Capital Territory Water Board to come on Thursday” Adeyemi added.
Adeyemi explained that if the idea is to stem open defecation, the pit toilets should not be constructed in the heart of Abuja.
“Even somebody who is mentally disturbed will not go to Aminu Kano, one of the major street in Abuja and open up, even somebody who is mentally ill will not go into a garden and defecate there, people will drive him away, so you don’t go to such places and put toilet.
“You can go and put the toilet in satellite towns, but you now came to major streets in Abuja, because you want to make money. When people look for money by all means, they forget there are people who are intelligent than them.
“You don’t go to IBB way in Abuja and say you want to put toilet there, who will come and use it” he asked?
Commenting on slow pace of some capital projects and geometric increase of over 100 percent in the FCT budget, Senator Adeyemi emphasised that infrastructure act as catalyst to development, saying the FCT administration should prioritise capital projects.
The lawmaker made reference to the inner southern extension of Goodluck Jonathan expressway contract awarded in 2014 at N43 billion, which was expected to be completed in 2017, he said “we found over 100 percent increase.
Similarly, Adeyemi cited rehabilitation and expansion of villa roundabout initially awarded at N39 billion, but reversed to N54 billion, with 33 percent completion over the years.
“We are going to tamper with the FCT budget, economy of Nigeria is bleeding, we must do what we can to save the country” he said.
Responding, the Executive Secretary of the FCDA, Engr. Hadi Shehu, said certain features were not considered when the projects were conceived.
He enumerated currency fluctuations component, foreign exchange challenge, inadequate budgetary provisions among others.
Meanwhile, the committtee is embarking on a 2-day oversight function to the FCT, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
It would be recalled that minister of FCT Mohammed Bello had presented the performance of the 2021 statutory budget, 2022 appropriation as well as review of the 2022 national budget and the FCT component of the 2023 national appropriation to the joint committtee of the National Assembly on federal capital territory held on Thursday in Abuja.