Abuja is dark
In continuation of his efforts towards identifying key areas requiring immediate attention, FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, undertook a late night tour of Abuja to assess street lighting, last week.
The minister, who expressed dissatisfaction with some of the reasons given for the non-functioning streetlights, charged the officials to be proactive in tackling the challenge.
“Quite frankly, the city is very dark. The city was much brighter than this in the past; instead of improvement, it appears we are going backwards and this is certainly not acceptable.
“Keeping the city bright enhances its beauty, eases the job of the security agencies in securing it and also makes it easy for the residents to come out in the night without any fear of being attacked,” Bello observed.
According to the minister, lightening up the city is as paramount as keeping it secure and clean.
He directed officials of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, AMMC, and Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, to immediately liaise with the FCT Permanent Secretary, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye, to restore all the streetlights across the city.
Earlier, the Acting Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, AMMC, Hajiya Safiya Umar, told the minister that the inability of the agency to regularly maintain the streetlights in Abuja has been a major challenge, stressing that this was occasioned by the drastic reduction in the streetlights maintenance budget for 2015.
She also said the situation was aggravated by the lack of payment to streetlights maintenance contractors who subsequently abandoned the job when their contact expired last September.
The Director of Facility Management and Maintenance, Engr. Amobi Obiekwe, during the tour explained the department has not been getting the desired cooperation from the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC.
According to him, the AEDC was duly informed of the faulty transformers serving the streetlights in the various districts, but have not acted to restore them, adding that the activities of vandals and street urchins who dig up power cables have also negatively affected their operations, thereby throwing the city into darkness.
However, the Executive Secretary of FCDA, Engr. Adamu Ismaila on his part, revealed that he had to adopt drastic measures in the maintenance of the streetlights along the Airport and Kubwa Expressways because of their priority status and security implication, adding that officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps were also engaged for constant surveillance along these very important routes to keep vandals away.