Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello

From Bello Wakili (Abuja)

Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the resumption of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) land swap initiative.

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello, disclosed this at the end of the council meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The initiative whose worth was put at about N1 trillion under the previous dispensation was designed to remedy the infrastructure deficit in the federal capital by swapping land with private investors who would in turn provide necessary infrastructure.

The Federal Capital Territory Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello said FEC approved the resumption following a memo he presented to the council.

He said some amendments were made to the original form of the initiative by establishing a legal framework to protect all parties.

The Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Raji Fashola also presented a note to the Council about the need to take notice of the increased number of road traffic crashes on Federal Highways.

He who stressed that every month, they get reports from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), noted that those reports were addressed to the Presidency through the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), where the FRSC is domiciled with a copy to his office.

Fashola maintained that they pay attention to these things and they saw high numbers in January 2021 compared to 2020, 2019, 2018.

‘ we saw that this was something that needed to be focused on. We saw that for the month of January, the number of people who die from road crashes exceeded the combined numbers of people who died from malaria and COVID together for the same month.’

‘While COVID and malaria were receiving national concerted attention, perhaps it was necessary to bring this to the attention of government as part of our strategy for protecting life and property’ .

‘So, we identified the need for various actions to be taken from municipal, local government level to state and national level and I acknowledge the fact that after this memo was listed, I got the notice of a Presidential Committee, the National Road Safety Advisory Council, which will be inaugurated tomorrow (Thursday) by the Office of the Vice President.’

According to him, directive has been given to FRSC to focus on three roads: the Lagos-Ibadan Highway, the Abuja-Kano Highway, and Abuja-Keffi-Lafia Highway, which show from the data that they had the cumulative highest number of accidents.

Fashola said the process of reducing road crashes started in April and figures will be collated by the end of June.

‘This includes installation of road traffic signs and more patrol. We are looking at also putting speed metres on the highway. There is a combination of factors and we are also trying to educate drivers. We saw that the biggest factor for these accidents from overspeeding, loss of control, wrongful overtaking, brake failure, tyre blowing out points to the role of the driver’.

The Minister said the education of the drivers is going to be a multidisciplinary activity from Ministry of Education, Ministries of Information, FRSC, state and local governments in terms of how they test and certify drivers.

Fashola also pointed out that the National Health Act was recently signed and one of the key elements of the Health Act is the development of emergency life support system because road traffic crashes happen everywhere in the world.