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We can’t control Abuja’s population explosion —FCT Minister, Bello

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The Federal Government has disclosed that it is incapable of containing the population explosion in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.

The FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, made the disclosure, on Wednesday, while answering questions from State House Correspondents after the week’s virtual Federal Executive Council meeting at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

He however, noted that the government was doing everything it could to manage the crowd.

He stressed that the skyrocketing population was only a normal trend in urbanisation.

Bello said: “Urbanisation is a reality that we cannot reverse, it’s a worldwide phenomenon and urbanisation will continue. As a matter of fact, it has been projected that by 2050, 70 per cent of the world’s population will be living in urban areas, Abuja is no exception.

“It has served as a magnet because it’s the centre of government, it’s secure, it’s peaceful, it’s in the centre of the country and it provides a tremendous amount of opportunities for young people. So, this will continue.

“But it’s something that we are trying to manage. How do we manage it? We are strengthening our institutions, increasing infrastructure within the available resources, but with urbanisation and movement of people, obviously, crime also increases; the need to handle urban waste increases, and so many other things.

“It’s something that we’ll keep on working on, and some of the demolitions we even do is as a result of that. When people come in, they don’t have housing, they don’t have accommodation, they go into shanties and they create slums.

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“So, we are trying and Abuja is trying to see how we can fit into the Millennium Development Goals of sustainability. We are trying to make a sustainable city and I tell you, it’s not going to be just the government, it has to be a combination of government, the private sector, the citizenry and all of us. But despite what you said, by and large, it’s still one of the best cities in Africa and we’ll continue to do our best.”

Continuing, the FCT Minister said: “The issue of renovations in the FCT is not new, it’s something that occurs as part of the daily work of enforcement, unfortunately, in the recent past, particularly during COVID-19, when most of the inspectorate staff were not able to cover many parts of the city, a lot of people went and started doing illegal constructions.

“The policies and guidelines for building in the FCT are very clear, they are well documented, the laws are there. So, what we have been doing, is just to remove infringements. So, the issue of compensation, normally, will not arise because everything is illegal.

“But there are some areas where, as part of our urban renewal and upgrade, if we need to take down a building, either to expand the road corridor or to create essential facilities for social services these will be compensated, it has always been happening.”

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