Infrastructure is the basic physical and organisational structures needed for the operation of a society like housing, roads, bridges, health services, markets governance and so on. It is the enterprise or the products, services and facilities necessary for an economy to function.
In the case of the Federal capital Territory, like in many cities across the country, there are endless cases of infrastructure decay. And this is mostly as a result of those in authorities due to a number of factors, not able to meet the expectations of the citizens who rely on them for the basic minimum. The primary purpose of government is to improve quality of life of citizens, to do this, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are established to provide services to the people. For the citizen, public institutions have a social obligation to render service and therefore have a legitimate expectation to be provided with good services with manageable commercial motive.
Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) was created to control the infrastructural and physical expansion (design, planning and construction) of the new Nigeria Federal Capital, making sure that it meets the standard of new Capital cities round the world, paying exceptional consideration to inclusivity.
Its mandate is to build the Abuja City and the Territory in compliance with the Abuja master plan; taking into consideration all the aims that necessitated the movement of the Nigeria Federal Capital from Lagos; and to establish a result oriented supervision with continuous emphasis on service delivery. But today, the FCDA appears not to be keeping strictly to the dictates of the founding fathers of the city and their internment’s as far as infrastructural development is concerned. It may not be all it’s fault given the paucity of resources but there seem to be a reluctance to strive.
For instance, the FCT Administration has accused housing developers of being the major cause of the flooding in some estates in the FCT. It said the flooding was as a result of housing developers not following laid down building regulations as provided for in the district design. But whose responsibility is it to supervise and enforce compliance?
We have a situation where the Department of Public Building is short of monitoring equipment and has insufficient utility vehicles to go round. Most often, the department uses just one vehicle to go round more than one district. This does not help because of the fast speed of development of structures. More so, stop work notices are discountenanced as a result of untimely and inadequate monitoring and follow-ups by the authority. There are also reports of FCDA officials colluding with estate developers to cut corners.
In the last five years, parts of the FCT have been severely battered by the scourge of flood, even as the experience remains a nightmare for the affected residents. This year, families in Karu, Lokogoma, Galadimawa, Giri, Gwagwalada, Trademore Estate, Apo New Site and other parts of the capital city are worst hit by flooding. And this happened because those in charge of surveying and mapping, including landscaping have failed in their duty or someone somewhere has compromised standards for perceived pecuniary gains.
Some of the causes of flooding in the FCT include building on green areas, flood-prone areas, waterways and drainage. Others are dumping of refuse into the drainage, waterways, poor adherence to environmental laws, failure to obey government orders in line with the Abuja Master Plan among others.
Some residents are blaming the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) for its role in the sprouting up of illegal structures that obstruct waterways and impact negatively on the city’s drainage system. But the REDAN is quick to absolve itself of such blame, and seeks an act to deal with quacks that have infiltrated the housing industry.
In an area that is not properly surveyed by the government, and there is no proper infrastructure in place, there is bound to be flooding. In the end, such area will cave in because of serious erosion.
As a newspaper, we call on the FCDA to live up to its mandate by ensuring that estate developers comply with laid down building regulations. The FCDA should also put in place measures to sanction corrupt officials who are living large from illegal land allocation and their counterparts in housing estate ripping off residents.
The FCDA should empower the Development Control Department to effectively monitor and supervise building construction rather than embark on demolition of the so-called illegal structures after they are erected on flood plains.