Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi, Kaduna and Plateau states border communities with Abuja are set to get Borderline Community Development Commission as a bill in that effect passed second reading in the Senate yesterday.
Sponsored by Sen Sani Musa (APC Niger East) the Commission will address the socio-economic and security impact of the rapid urbanisation of the FCT on border areas clearly identified in the Abuja master plan.
Leading the debate on the bill, Musa said: “It should be emphasised that the proposal for the establishment of the FCT Borderline Community Development Commission is a fallout of the creation of the FCT and its effects on communities and States are contiguous to the FCT. It was recommended in the Abuja Master Plan that a special Joint Planning Body be established to address the socio-economic and security impact of the rapid urbanisation of the FCT on border areas which areas were clearly identified in the master plan.”
He said while the absence of an appropriate legal and institutional framework has hampered attempts by previous administrations to establish a joint development zone comprising of five States of Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi, Kaduna and Plateau, only the National Assembly and not the State Houses of Assembly has the constitutional legislative competence to resolve this institutional and legal conundrum in the interest of the less privileged Nigerian living in FCT boarder communities such as Suleja, Mararaba, Tafa, Dakwa, Sabon Wuse, Karu, One Man Village, Autabalefi, Uke, Gurara, Karu, Keffi, Madalla, Masaka, etc.
On the objective of the bill, Musa said it will provide the legal and institutional framework for the planning, development, implementation and coordinator of infrastructural projects in the FCT borderline communities such as Suleja, Mararaba, Tafa, Dakwa, Sabon Wuse, Karu, One Man Village, Autabalefi, Uke, Gurara, New Karu, Keffi, Madalla, Masaka among others.
He said the commission will provide alternative sources of funding for infrastructural development projects for FCT Borderline communities by allowing the Federal Government and the affected States and private companies to contribute to the fund established under the Bill for such projects.
“Provide an alternative template for the decongestion of the Federal Capital Territory and reduce the security burden of congested borderline communities, and complement the work of the Department of Satellite Towns Infrastructure (DSTI), whose mandate is limited to the development of infrastructure around Bwari, Kuje, Gosa and satellite towns within the FCT.
“The passage of this Bill is justified for a number of reasons: Firstly, it will address the problem of exponential population explosion vis-a-vis housing and infrastructural deficit in Abuja. Indeed, while the Abuja Master Plan projected the total population of residents in phases 1-4 of the FCT would be three million, the population of Abuja as at today has exceeded 10 million inhabitants. The proposed Commission will, therefore, execute a comprehensive programme of actions for housing development, elimination of slums, and promotion of diversity through spatial decongestion of housing opportunities for persons of lower income and generally improve social infrastructure in FCT border communities as well address the mounting security challenges.
“Secondly, since the Department of Satellite Towns Infrastructure (DSTI) established by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) has its mandate restricted to infrastructural development in Bwari, Kubwa, Kuje, Gosa, Anagada and other designated satellites towns within the FCT, the passage of this Bill is appropriate as it would care for communities on the border of the FCT which now Offers alternative housing to thousands of workers including our Legislative Aides and also serving a repository for the overflowing population from the FCT.
“The overriding principle behind the introduction of this Bill is to provide the legal and institutional framework that would bridge the infrastructural gap between the FCT Borderline Communities and the FCT in order to help decongest the Federal Capital Territory, “ Musa added.