• Friday, April 12, 2024
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Insecurity: Wike urges Senate to approve security votes for FCT

Wike woos Indian investors to Abuja

Nyesom Wike, minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)on Monday urged the Senate to approve security votes to enable the ministry respond to security threats in the nation’s capital.

Security vote is a monthly allowance that is allocated to Governors of the 36 states for the sole purpose of funding security services within such states. The monthly fund which runs into billions of naira and vary based on the level of security required by the individual state have not been widely accepted by citizens for lack of accountability and transparency.

The minister said the security vote has become necessary to enable the FCT Administration fund covert operations by security agencies to eliminate threats without going through the rigours of official bureaucracy capable of delaying action and revealing sensitive security information.

“If you recollect what we said in the security council meeting. I did say that in tackling the issue of insecurity, there are certain operations that we call covert operations and that some people may not even know. But here in Abuja, no security man can be given money without applying.

“For those of us who have been Governor, the Director of the SSS can come and tell you that they want to do an operation and will  require say N20million for the operation. Of course, you don’t need to go and call anybody. All you need do is to give him the N20million cash. But in FCT there is nothing like that.  You can’t even give N500,000.00″, he said.

“So there’s no security vote in the FCT. I presented this when I we discussed about security issues. This is just to let you know, so you don’t forget that you did promise us that you will make sure that this time around there would be security vote to take care of some of these challenges”, Wike urged lawmakers.

Commenting on the delay or non-completion of public projects, the minister said  that most government contracts were “inflated”, adding that he owed no one apologies for the assertion.

According to Wike, contracts are inflated deliberately because the government doesn’t pay on time, thereby giving contractors and others on the project chain the window to call for variations.

He said he had opted to use Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to part-fund some projects, while awaiting the releases of main capital budgets and in that way scuttle the plots by contractors and their collaborators in the system to seek variation at the slightest opportunity.

According to the minister, the N1.147trillion statutory budget of the FCTA for 2024 is N506.5billion (44%) higher than the revised 2023 budget of N641.2billion.

Wike attributed the difference in the increase to “the expected loan from the commercial bank in the sum of N500billion”, which he said would be applied to new and ongoing projects in the territory.

“The Personnel Costs component is N140.9billion, up from N99.5billoom in 2023 or a difference of N41.3billion (29%).

“The increase is to accommodate the emoluments of the appointed mandate secretaries and other political appointees of the administration, payment of staff promotion arrears, peculiar allowance, staff wage award arrears and AEPB Conraiss arrears (11 months)”, he explained.

The minister told the lawmakers that the additional N145.1billion would be spent on FCT Security Services; Loan Repayment; Logistics Support to Security Agencies; Operation and Maintenance of Wupa Sewage Treatment Plant; Maintenance of Dump Sites in Satellite Towns; Water Treatment Chemicals; and Welfare Packages (FCT Staff Palliative).

“Compared to N2023 when the Capital Allocation was N406.2billion, the  budget size for this year is N726.3billion or a 63.28% raise,” he said.

Wike also spoke on the challenges of managing land allocation in the FCT, disclosing that up to 1,500 cases were instituted against the administration, a reason it had also earmarked N5.5billion for legal services in the 2024 budget proposal.

Wike further revealed that the Administration was battling cases of multiple allocations of the same land to different individuals and organisations.

“This time around, we are ready to take on them head-on; we are going to engage senior lawyers.

“We won’t rely on FCT Civil Service lawyers because these ones also collude with those causing problems for for,” he added.

The minister also defended the sum of N1.1 trillion budget of the FCTA for the 2024 fiscal year before the Senate Committees on FCT and FCT Areas Councils.

He also narrated how he was able to save the sum of $53million by renegotiating the operations aspect of the Abuja light rail contract from $128million to $75million.

On how he saved the over $50million for the Federal Government, Wike said on that the administration of President Bola Tinubu met the contract for the operation of the Abuja Light Rail at a whopping $128million.

He said in view of the humongous amount, he was forced to demand details and urgent review of the sum because there was no way the Federal Government could afford to pay such an amount.

He told Senators that the contract was signed by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

Narrating the encounter between him and the contractor, CCECC, the minister said he got to learn that the cost of operations also covered personnel training for 29 mo“This was projected  by the last administration. We did a review and brought it down to $75million, in the process, saving about $53million for the government.

“It had to do with the Metroline. The cost for the construction is different, the cost for the operation where CCECC will train our people for 29 months and it was approved by FEC (Federal Executive Council) before this administration for $128million. I told CCECC, you have made your money in the construction and you don’t want this job to go on, convert $128million, how much is it?Obviously you are saying that this thing will not work and it is a sabotage.

“I looked at it and I told my team to call the contractor for us to discuss the development. We argued back and front and I insited no, it is better we leave the contract. To cough out $128million from where? At the end if the day, the committee recommended $63million. I said okay. By the end of the day we came up with $75million because of the additional work and since we are preparing for the opening of the Abuja metroline before the 29th of May this year and because there are 12 Stations which we have to put in order”, he explained.

“That is why it became $75million and I have told them to prepare the agreement and let them go and start working. There is no way for operation to train our people to gulp $128million it is unbelievable.

“I had made it known to the CCECC and if they had not agreed I would have no option but to tell the President. There is nothing we can do, we can not go with the project. $128million at what Naira to a dollar? Calculate it. Even $75million calculate it”, he further said.