Fred Itua, Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has raised the alarm over the rise in COVID-19 cases in Abuja, saying the spread has been fuelled by foreign returnees evacuated to Nigeria recently by the Federal Government and people from neighbouring states who work in Abuja.
In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the minister, Anthony Ogunlewe, it also raised fear over the activities of bandits.
“The security committee received a brief from the Health and Human Services Secretariat presented by the Director of Public Health, Dr. Josephine Okechukwu, who disclosed that the major challenges facing the health authorities in the FCT are the issues of self-denial of the disease and lack of adherence to health protocols by many residents. She also said that there were imported cases into the FCT from other states as well as from returnees from outside of Nigeria. She also called for more active involvement of the area councils and traditional institutions in the fight against the virus in the FCT,” said Ogunlewe.
The FCTA also confirmed the presence of bandits in some parts of the Abuja, especially the fringes of the nation’s capital, assuring, however, that steps were being taken to tackle the issue and also address clashes between herdsmen and farmers in FCT communities.
During a security meeting chaired by the FCT minister, Mr. Muhammad Bello, Police Commissioner, Mr. Bala Ciroma, said following the directive by the Federal Government for the engagement of Special Constabularies for Community Policing nationwide, and the subsequent inauguration of the FCT State Community Advisory Committee, the committee met and came up with modalities that will guide its implementation.
The commissioner said the main functions of the Community Constabularies will be crime detection and prevention, settlement of low level civil disputes and petty crimes, criminal intelligence gathering and dissemination to the local police commanders, dealing with minor offences and social vices, assist in traffic management and school safety duties amongst others.
Meanwhile, top officials of the FCTA are alleged to be issuing letters of land allocation to members of the public in exchange for money.
Acting coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), Abdulhamid Sulaiman, who stated this warned the public not to fall victim to such criminal activities, but always ensure they get any land allocation through the right channels.
“The FCT Administration is already aware that some unscrupulous elements, in connivance with some officials, are reportedly issuing letters of allocation in this respect. Anybody caught dealing on these illegal allocations will not only be dealt with in the Civil Service way, but will also be prosecuted,” Sulaiman said.
Suleiman said there was an existing embargo on land allocation for green areas, recreational parks and open spaces in the FCT, and that any allocation or transaction with respect to these land purposes while the embargo subsists was “null and void.”
According to him, only the minister has the power to allocate any land in the territory, be it open spaces, green areas or recreational parks to applicants.
He said that exclusive power to allocate land was delegated to the minister by the President and Commander-in-Chief, as the Governor-General of FCT.
“Any transaction outside the minister’s approval is deemed illegal and illegitimate and will be prosecuted and the culprit punished accordingly. In addition to that, I also want to draw the attention of the public to strict adherence to development control guidelines, because the FCT is a planned city, based on the Abuja masterplan and all the regulations must be followed to avoid distortion that could risk destruction of lives and property,” he said.