Reps call for review of Abuja Master Plan

The House of Representatives on Thursday called for immediate review of the Abuja Master Plan in a bid to reflect the socio-economic and demographic realities of contemporary times.

The last review of the Abuja Master plan was carried out in 1999, according to the House.

The resolutions of the House was sequel to the adoption of the prayers of a motion brought under matters of urgent national importance sponsored by Nnena Elendu-Ukeje, chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, who decried the spate of demolition of small and medium businesses across the capital city.

Abuja is a planned city built around a well conceived and articulate master plan in 1979 which conceptualised an inclusive, integrated and sustainable city; a city of a projected population of about 3 million people.”

Elendu-Ukeje who noted that as at 2006 census, the population of Abuja was put at about 776,000 people, said United Nations figures states that between 2000 and 2010, Abuja experienced phenomenal growth of 139.7 percent making it the fastest growing city in the world at a population of 3 million people.

According to her, a further annual growth of 35 percent due in part to urban drift, migration due to insecurity, economic and social migration has left the population of Abuja hovering at about 6.5 million people, projected to hit 10 million in 2018.

She said there had been repeated calls for a review of the Abuja Master Plan as stipulated in the Abuja master Plan to reflect present day realities as the present has ambushed the Abuja utopia dream

She said certain deviations to the original plan had been made “for example NNPC plaza, military barracks, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua centre, Asokoro expressway, drainage infractions in Apo area that have significantly altered the Abuja master plan remain unchecked as they have been explained to be expedient at the time.”

The House also mandated Muhammad Bello, FCT Minister to ensure that Department of Development Control stop further demolition of small and medium businesses within the Federal Capital City pending the outcome of a proposed engagement with the House Committee on FCT.

In the bid to address various challenges facing the SMEs, the House urged Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance and her counterpart, Udoh Udoma, Minister of Planning and the Economic team to develop an economic model that seeks to formalise the informal sector.

The move, according to the lawmaker was geared towards promoting “financial inclusion, allow for transmission of monetary policy as well as boost revenue generating capacity of this hitherto ignored but critical sector of our economy.”

In her lead debate, Elendu-Ukeje expressed concern that in the past month, the Federal Capital Territory and its agencies have engaged in demolition of business premises within the Federal Capital City.

She said: “Displacement is a disruptive and painful exercise that guarantees impoverishment, hopelessness, joblessness, food insecurity, morbidity, social disarticulation, medical hardship and removal of children from school.

The lawmaker who decried the plight of thousands of businesses affected by the displacement so far, observed that “forced eviction contravene/violate human right. This motion does not condone arbitrariness because freedom without boundary will result in anarchy.

“We watch with dismay as small and medium businesses have become the focus of the demolition exercise.”

The House Committee on FCT was also mandated to engage the Minister of FCT and the relevant agencies of the ministry the resolutions and report back to the House within two weeks.

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