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1.      Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Barrister Ezenwo Nyesom Wike has called on the Belgian government to partner with the FCT in the area of Agriculture and security, stressing that the nation’s capital has vast arable lands and a conducive environment for agriculture.

2.       The Minister made the call when he received the Belgian Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Pieter Leenknegt, who paid a courtesy visit to the FCT Administration on Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

3.      Barr. Wike said, “Agriculture is key. The largest employer of labour is agriculture. We have arable land that if we can get partners from Belgium to develop, we will be very happy about that”

4.      While acknowledging the longstanding relationship between Nigeria and Belgium, the FCT Minister also noted that the FCT had grappled with security challenges in recent times but said the situation has improved due to the commitment of the security agencies, saying that the FCT would also be willing to partner with Belgium to further improve the security situation in the FCT.

5.        He said, “Most of these high-level kidnappers have now been arrested and they will be prosecuted according to the law. We will be happy if we can, in the area of security, partner with you”.

6.      While responding to the diplomat’s desire to know more about the FCTA’s plans for the development of mass transportation in the FCT, especially rail mass transit, Barr. Wike disclosed that the Abuja Metroline was 95 percent complete and would be inaugurated in May by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

7.       The Minister said when he came on board, the Metroline was not functional. He added that, with the directive of President Tinubu to ensure that it becomes active for use by the people within one year, all hands have been on deck to complete work on the rail project and make it ready for commissioning in May 2024.

8.         “I can happily announce to you that we are almost there. The company, CCECC, that is building the metroline, we are almost 95 percent and we believe by the grace of God, by May, the President will officially inaugurate it”.

L-R: SSA to the FCT Minister on Legal and Multilateral Cooperation, Barrister Benedict Daudu, Gneral Counsel, FCTA, Barrister Saman Dako, Belgian Ambassador to Nigeria, HE Pieter Leenknegt, FCT Minister, Barrister Nyesom Wike and the Secretary for Economic Planning, Revenue Generation and PPP, Arch. Ubokotom Nyah during the Belgian envoy’s visit to the FCTA on Wednesday

9.      Barrister Wike further disclosed that discussions were ongoing with private partners to ensure that operators of buses and taxi services in the FCT were registered and assigned operational routes for security reasons.

10.  The Minister also disclosed that the FCTA will soon begin the construction of bus terminals to serve the various routes in the FCT. He said the project was at its procurement stage and work would commence as soon as the procurement process was concluded.

11.  He said, “We are also trying to build terminals for buses and taxis. For example, we will not have public taxis on the road. you must go to a particular terminal where passengers will be and where the drivers are identified.

12.  “These are efforts we are putting in place to see that not only is it decent, but in terms of fighting insecurity and we believe by the grace of God, when we have the approval from the Bureau of Public Procurement, we believe in the next one month, construction ought to have started” Barr. Wike said.

Belgian Ambassador to Nigeria HE Pieter Leenknegt and the FCT Minister, Barrister Nyesom Wike during the envoy’s visit to the FCTA on Wednesday

13.  On the issue of cattle herding in the city centre the envoy also sought to understand the Minister’s plans for improvement, Barr. Wike said the issue was a very sensitive one but added that discussions were ongoing amongst the various security agencies, the herders, and the FCT Administration while the herders are being educated on the need to keep cattle away from the city centre.

14.   Speaking, on the request for investment in agriculture, the ambassador promised to look for potential Belgian investors for the FCT’s agricultural sector.

15.  He also said that Belgium’s biggest presence in Nigeria is in the area of construction materials and that factories have also been set up in Nigeria for the production of such.

16.  Present at the meeting were the General Counsel, Barr. Salman Dako, Secretary, Economic Planning, Revenue Generation and PPP, Arc. Ubokutom Nyah and the SSA on Legal and Multilateral Cooperation to the Minister, Barr. Benedict Daudu.







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