Abuja (WorldStage Newsonline)-- The Federal Government of Nigeria has raised a technical committee to look into the issue of developing contiguous states to the Federal Capital Territory.
This is in respond to the request made by the two contiguous states to FCT, Nasarawa and Niger for the federal government assistance to solve the myriad of challenges facing the states arising from the congestion of the federal capital.
Vice President Namadi Sambo constituted the ministerial committee on Thursday The committee headed by Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)N Bala Mohammed is expected to evolve strategies towards optimising the proximity of Abuja to the states.
Other members of the committee include Minister of Housing, Ama Pepple; Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe; and representatives of the Niger and Nasarawa state governments as members.
Reacting on the challenges, Pepple and the Niger state governor, Aliyu Babangida, said they include dearth of roads, electricity, health institutions, water supply and other essential infrastructure.
Governor Babangida Aliyu, while briefing State House Correspondents on the outcome of a meeting with Vice President Namadi Sambo at the State House, Abuja goverment expressed concern about the state of the slums that littered the borders of the FCT, especially in the face of growing insecurity in the country.
He also expressed optimism that the moment the problem of infrastructure was overcome in these suburbs; the current security challenge would have been considerably addressed.
"This committee that has just been put in place should have been in existence rigt from the inception of the FCT. But because of the immediate issues we have been facing, you knpw the negative urbanization particularly in Suleja, the role the Niger State has played in the growth of the FCT; bombings that we have had in Suleja as a result of trying to embarrass the FCT and Federal Government, the declaration of state of emergency all brought to the fore the problems that are there in terms of housing, water, roads, in terms of power and other issues.
"After our meeting with the president, we discussed the issues and he expressed the willingness of the Federal Government to assist the contiguous states so that we don't have a peoblem where you come and enjoy in FCT but you are always apprehensive on your way out because of the slums that exist outside the city.
"We wrote to the president intimating him of what needs to be done. As a result of that he delegated the authority to the vice president and we have met and the vice president now set up a technical committee that will look at these issues not only in Niger state but all the contiguous states-Nasarawa and Kogi. The committee has been given four weeks to submit the preliminary report. And with that we believe have started.
"We are looking at every avenue of resources not only from government, the PPP arrangement and if possible long term concessionary loans.
"If you go to Mararaba or Karu in the axis of Kefi, and you go to Madala or Suleja, you will know that we need to do a lot to even decongest the FCT, because ordinary people working here may not afford the kind of appartments and buildings but then there are not supposed to be slums in the neighbourhood," he said.
Also speaking, Nasarawa Governor, Tanko Almakura said the collaboration with Federal Government was imperative in view of the capital intensive nature of the project.
The Housing and Urband Development, Ms. Amal Pepple, said the slums where people live in neigbouring states to FCT is of serious concern to government and that is why her ministry is part of the committee set up to provide affordable houses for states adjoining the FCT.
Pepple told journalists that her ministry has intervened and secured from Babangida 300 hectares of land in Suleija, Niger state to construct mass housing projects for residents there.
She said ministry officials have embarked on survey work on the land and construction will start soon.
The minister further disclosed that new building technology involving hydraform and prefabricated structures and other innovation will be used for the project.