• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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BusinessDay

No plan to relocate the federal capital from Abuja— Presidency

Again, FG postpones kick-off date for students loan scheme to March 1, 2024

.says mischief makers fueling needless ethnic mistrust

Presidency said on Wednesday that President Bola Tinubu has no plans to relocate the federal capital from Abuja to Lagos, as is being insinuated by ‘mischief makers.’

Bayo Onanuga, the special adviser to the president on information and strategy, who stated this, further noted that the ‘status of Abuja’ as Nigeria’s federal capital city, has come to stay. “It is backed by law.”

Onanuga stated that the presidency has noticed how mischief-makers, bent on fueling needless ethnic mistrust, have deliberately misinterpreted the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to relocate its department of banking supervision to Lagos and the directive of the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria(FAAN) should relocate its head office back to Lagos.

Onanuga said the presidency considered it necessary to inform Nigerians that there was no iota of truth in the interpretations given to the directives in some quarters and the unfounded claims and rumours that President Tinubu was planning to relocate the federal capital back to Lagos.

According to him, “These rumours, which first surfaced during the electioneering last year, was sponsored by political opponents looking for all manners of weapons to prevent Asiwaju Tinubu from being elected as president by a section of the country.

He stated that the mischief makers are using the recent decision of the CBN and FAAN as a pretext to start another round of toxic opposition, adding, “We want to state, unequivocally, that those behind this sordid narrative are dishonest ethnic and regional champions, trying to draw attention to themselves.

“The movement of FAAN, an agency of the aviation ministry, to Lagos, where it was located before former minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, moved it to Abuja during the last administration, does not amount to moving the federal capital to Lagos.

“The administrative move should have ordinarily attracted scant attention, as Lagos is the commercial capital and the hub of aviation business in Nigeria. FAAN will still maintain some presence in Abuja. It is not a wholesale movement.

“Similarly, the movement of the department of banking supervision of the CBN to Lagos should not trigger any discord within the polity. The department concerned deals with commercial banks, almost all of which have their headquarters in Lagos.

He accused those pushing the campaign of falsehood and misinformation of “merely playing politics, albeit a dangerous politics, to pit the North against the South.

“There are many parastatals that are not based in Abuja depending on their mandate. The headquarters of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), for example, are in Lagos. In the same vein, the headquarters of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) is in Lokoja, while that of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) commissioned by former President Muhammadu Buhari is in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

“It must be pointed out that these decisions are purely administrative and should not be politicised by people of goodwill and those who wish our country well.

“President Tinubu-led administration is working tirelessly to be just and equitable to every section of the country. We urge restraint on the part of those whose stock in trade is to create all manner of dangerous rumours to distract every government from the noble objective of meeting the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.

“Our citizens desire nothing but good governance that positively impacts their lives. Rumour-mongering is a pernicious disservice to this ultimate expectation of our people,” Onanuga said.