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Lasa Fever: FCT Minister Make Case For Clean Environment

……Wants Works Ministry To Expand Abuja /Keffi Road

Worried over the reported cases of lasa fever in some parts of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT ), the Minister of FCT, Bello Muhammed has introduced FCT Household and Community Sanitation Exercise in order to improve personal hygiene and check environmental nuisances in the Area Councils and Satellite Towns of the Territory.

The minister in collaboration with the Minister of Environment, Hajiya Amina Mohammed, flagged-off the exercise at Kuje, the headquarters of the Kuje Area Council of the FCT at the weekend.

The ceremony was also attended by the Minister of State, Environment, Alhaji Usman Jubril, representative of the Minister of Health, FCT Permanent Secretary, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye, as well as all the Directors General and heads of Agencies and Pararstatals under the FCT Administration and Federal Ministry of Environment.

Malam Bello explained that Abuja has a unique position as the capital of Nigeria and therefore remains the major gateway into the country; noting that the FCT Clean-up exercise is not only a sanitation exercise but a re-orientation effort in line with the Change Agenda of the Federal Government.

The Minister decried that community efforts in ensuring clean environment has almost disappeared in our society as most people now look up to Government to clean their environment for them; thereby, neglecting the household and communal efforts in cleanliness which often has led to spread of diseases such as Lassa fever.

Malam Bello used the occasion to call on all the residents of the Federal Capital Territory to imbibe the Change Agenda of the Federal Government, by changing their attitude as political, traditional, community, religious leaders, civil servants and citizens.

“We must change our attitude as parents and as wards. We must tell ourselves the truth that our environment is very dirty and that the responsibility for ensuring a clean and healthy environment lies on us. It must start from our households, our communities and our towns and cities. A clean environment is our collective responsibility for a healthy living.

I therefore, enjoin all of us, to work hard in re-introducing community efforts in environmental sanitation through grassroots mobilization and also fashion out new ways of changing our attitude and the psyche of our younger ones in order to ensure a sustainable clean and healthy environment”

The Minister noted that the community-based approach to environmental sanitation will lead to a more realistic and sustainable effort in maintaining the environment.

Malam Bello also called on six the Area Councils’ Chairmen of the FCT and Traditional rulers to organize their communities to tackle the issue of refuse littering all the nook and crannies of the Federal Capital Territory, by ensuring a clean and healthy environment.

While speaking, the Minister of Environment, Hajiya Amina Mohammed expressed happiness over the collaboration of FCTA with the Federal Ministry of Environment on “Environmental Sanitation”, to ensure the provision of clean environment for healthy living in the Territory, and assured of her strong commitment to make the collaboration sustainable.

The Minister noted that environment of filths and dirt constitutes so much public health hazards to the people and therefore called for concerted efforts to rid our habitats of dirt.

She said that sanitation is vital for human health; noting that healthy people are more productive at work place; insisting that healthy communities offer a more lucrative market for goods and services.

She described the theme of the exercise which is “Clean Environment; Our collective responsibility for a healthy living” as apt because it has highlighted the fact that most of the common illnesses our people suffer from, such as Malaria, Cholera, Typhoid Fever, Scabies and even Lassa fever etc. occur as a result of poor environmental sanitation and hygiene practices.

Hajiya Mohammed used the occasion to call for proper disposal of human excreta (faeces and urine); sound domestic personal and food hygiene practices; clean premises – proper solid waste (rubbish/garbage management); safe collection and storage of water for domestic use; as well as control of pest and vectors (flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches and rodents that spread diseases).

She said that the negative effects of poor sanitation and indiscriminate waste disposal include the recent flooding that destroyed houses; farmlands during the raining season.

The Ministers, traditional rulers and other guests at the occasion later moved to the Kuje Market for sanitation campaign to make the market men and women key into the laudable programe.

In a similar development, Bello therefore,  called on the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to consider the full expansion of the Abuja-Keffi road to 10 lanes capacity to tackle the traffic bottlenecks often experienced on that axis.

The FCT Minister, Malam Bello made this call at the partial opening of the Inner Southern Expressway (ISEX) in the Central Business District, Abuja.

The Minister who was represented at the occasion by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye, said that the expansion of the Abuja-Keffi road to 10 lanes with interchange bridges at critical junctions will guarantee hitch-free traffic flow in and out of Abuja city from the North-East axis of the country.

Malam Bello recalled that the FCT Administration has already expanded the Kubwa and Airport roads to serve those entering into the Federal Capital City from the northern and southern parts of the country respectively.

He said that the FCT Administration decided to partially open the ISEX also known as the Goodluck Jonathan Expressway to reduce the traffic gridlocks around the city centre particularly at peak periods.

The Minister disclosed that 90 percent of the ISEX project has been completed; stressing that it was in a bid to alleviate the traffic congestion being experienced within the city Centre at least by providing an alternative route to ease movement in the East-West Axis in the southern flank of the city.

Malam Bello remarked that hitherto to commencement of the ISEX project, commuters from Abuja-Keffi axis usually experienced chaotic traffic congestion and suffered untold hardship when plying that route, with the resultant effect of extensive man-hour losses.

He emphasized that the FCT Administration funded the substantial completion of the ISEX in line with policy of the present Administration to continue with all on-going projects that will impact positively on the lives of Abuja residents and Nigerians at large.

The Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engr. Adamu Ismaila who was represented at the occasion by the Director of Mass Housing, Engr. Umar Gambo Jibrin stated that the Inner Southern Expressway (ISEX) commences where the Abuja-Keffi road terminates by Mogadishu Barracks in Asokoro District.

He said that the road traverses the City from Phases I to IV to connect the Outer Southern Expressway (OSEX) within the precincts of Kuje township.

“The road is designed as a 2×2-lane service carriageways and 2×3-lane main carriageways making a total of 10 lanes with four interchanges and four box culverts at various locations,” Engr. Ismaila said.

The Executive Secretary said that the scope of the project includes underground and surface storm water drainage, power supply, a pedestrian bridge, street lighting and telecommunication ducts, among others.

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