The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has been acknowledged as the melting point of Nigeria where everybody can come in and have the benefit and opportunity of doing well.In any civilised society, one of the primary responsibilities of government is the safeguarding of lives and property of its citizenry and Abuja is not an exception.This is so as the FCT possesses military capacity and threat of force which many other segments lack. However, this security monopoly trends are fast changing. In a globalised world, preventing violent conflict and building sustainable peace require complex strategies which include cooperation with other stakeholders like the civil society organisations and staying true to good governance.This is the known strategy of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Mohammad Bello, that he has successfully deployed in making Abuja one of the safest capitals in the world.It is true today, that Nigeria, which is the most populated country in Africa and arguably its most economically advanced, has recently become the theater of conflict on the continent.
Recent events in Bamako, Beirut and Nairobi have focused the FCT minister on the need of deploying workable strategies in making Abuja more safe for its residents. It is good to note that terrorism which hitherto was an experience that is alien to Nigeria is being witnessed daily in our country. Terrorists now attack major cities like Abuja which they see as attack on the whole of humanity. And the values which they share have been witnessed in Abuja, the seat of power, before the administration of Mohammad Bello as FCT Minister, an experience which the minister prayed should never be allowed to occur again in the FCT.Efforts by the Bello administration to ensure that security inAbuja, although focused on many different strategies, is part of his shared response.Abuja is truly a mega city in the making, it is one of the most populated national capitals of the world. In light of its history and importance to the national and international economy of the world, the minister wasted no time when he came on board to make Abuja safe for everybody.Abuja is undergoing its own share of the demographic transition in its history and this is unprecedented. Its urbanisation is increasing as more and more people flock to the capital daily in search of better opportunities and brighter future. Technological innovations are transforming cities including facilitating greater migration from rural areas into the cities.More robust and affordable transportation networks are enabling people to move easily from rural areas to the FCT.
The spread of cellular networks and advances in communication facilities in Nigeria have exposed rural dwellers to the allure of Abuja like never before. Changing weather patterns and rise in temperature in rural areas due to climate change are affecting economic and general living conditions, promting flight to cities. We also see mass migrations due to conflict as endangered population move to cities to raise their families. Abuja is not an exception.The minister believes that the use of force is the necessary first step, but cannot be the only step. He always notes as a policy that Nigeria cannot continue to hold on to the use of force to solve its multidimensional security problems especially in the FCT. This approach has helped in keeping Abujaj safe.The minister always states and notes in his approach to solving the Abuja city’s security challenges that urban populations are growing and that it is important to implement policies that are neccessary to make jobs available for the youth who normally are the tools for all security chakenges faced today in all societies.Consequently, the implementation of the Abuja industrial policy by the Mallam Bello Mohammad administration has gone a long way in encouraging industries in Abuja in employing the country’s teeming youths and this has led to lower crime rates in the city.His management of the herders and farmers dispute which is the trend in the nation today has made the problem very low in Abuja because of the belief that introduction of the martial security measures will not neccessarily suffice or solve the problems but an economic solution would help in managing this problem and it has in Abuja.The problems of unemployment, poverty, insecurity and extremism have many things to do with governance, over time. We must tackle the issue of poverty to solve at the very bottom our security problems which need multidimensional approaches. He believes that if we limit the government’s role under the assumption that government’s spending is intrinsically unproductive then we thitter ourselves to failure, failures witnessed in many states that have applied the one dimensional approach.
The minister did well in keeping Abuja safe by studying how other capitals charted their way during their formative years. You will see that they do not entrench small government or the purportedly free markets. The goverments embark on massive spending on infrastructure and education.They also engage in the implementation of policies that protect their industries and only when they are mature and serve their common interest that they started the implementation of the small government policies. This is the trend in the FCT. The minister is known to have expended big on its people thereby limiting insecurity.The minister has continually as a policy supported all the security agencies in Abuja. This policy is deliberate as it has tremendously enhanced the spirit of comraderieship between the city’s security personnel and the civil populace.The minister has taken so many proactive measures to enhance and ensure that Abuja is safe and secure for all. These measures include the implementation of his administration’s cardinal programmes which will ensure that the social security and welfare of the people is first.The minister is always sincere in acknowledging rather than living in denial that we have issues to deal with in abuja security wise and the administration in conjunction with the civil society groups will be leading this conversation in making the FCT safe for all because Abuja is very important to the country.The minister has made extensive pronouncements in this regard. So, it is not only about talk or film shows but he has from time to time rolled out measures in this regard. He has committed himself to supporting all the security agencies to boost their morale in making Abuja safe.
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Some of the measures the administration has taken include the issue of okada in systematic order and to make it have a human face and provide credible alternative because he cannot throw the baby with the bath water.These alternatives are systematically and pragmatically fashioned to make Abuja residents sleep with their two eyes closed.He has also severally appealed to citizens who own uncompleted or abandoned buildings to get professional security company to take them over so that they can monitor and police them well instead of leaving them open to criminals as hideouts.Musa writes from Abuja.