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Wike says Abuja was a dead place until he took over as minister

Wike says development activities had come to a halt in Abuja prior to the Tinubu-led government.

Nyesom Wike became Minister of FCT in 2023 [NAN]

Wike stated this when the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Richard Montgomery, visited him in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said construction and other development activities had come to a halt in Abuja prior to the Tinubu-led government.

"Before now, it does appear that there were no activities in Abuja, with many residents complaining that the city is so docile and nothing was happening. However, since we came on board, you can see that activities have come up in terms of infrastructure, particularly road infrastructure.

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"We can proudly say that we have turned Abuja to a construction site, which was not the case in the past eight years," he said.

The minister added that the priority of the FCT administration was centred on the priority of the president and his Renewed Hope agenda, adding that the administration had recorded some progress, particularly on security.

He said the security agencies, particularly the police, had done so well in curbing the activities of bandits and other criminal elements.

"You can comparatively say today the level of insecurity has come down so much in Abuja because of the level of support and the commitment of security agencies, particularly the police.

"We have given the police and other security agencies a lot of logistics support that have effectively helped them to perform their assignments.

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"I can tell you that we have made tremendous progress in terms of arresting kidnappers, and I am sure you are following the news about the everyday arrest of criminals," he said.

Wike identified key priority areas of the FCT administration as job creation, tourism, and agriculture. He said that the administration was ready to partner with investors to develop the tourism and agricultural sectors of the federal capital to create employment opportunities for the youths.

"For me, agriculture is key; for me, security is key. If we are able to solve these problems, then we will be able to create a lot of jobs and if you solve the problem of security, obviously you are giving confidence to investors to come and invest.

"When the environment is not secure, that of course will not allow investors to come in. So, we think that these two key areas are very germane for our administration," Wike said.

Earlier, Montgomery explained that he was in the minister's office to seek his views and understand his priorities for the development of the Federal Capital Territory. He said in the past few weeks, the United Kingdom had stepped up its engagement with the Nigerian government.

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Montgomery explained that his country recently signed new defence, security and enhanced trade and investment partnerships with the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He added that his country was equally providing technical support in the development of the Abuja Industrial Park, which in the long run would create jobs for Nigerian youths.

"I absolutely agree with you on the jobs and agriculture focus and I am pleased to say we actually have a programme on agriculture that is trying to improve the value chain. This is so that farmers can be able to sell their produce to people that can process and package, and therefore, trade easily.

"This is something we hope is getting off the ground now to help the agriculture sector. I also hope that the Abuja Industrial Park will be one of those locations that will create new jobs, provide services for new Small and Medium Enterprises, which is where a lot of jobs come from.

"I agree there is no prosperity without security but also there is no long-term security without more jobs and prosperity. So, they are interlinked and I recognise the progress that is being made."

On economy, the high commissioner said his country was conscious that the long-term prosperity of Nigeria comes from the tough reforms that the government was putting in place.

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"This, we believed, quite strongly, will put Nigeria on a higher growth path, creating more jobs and better livelihood in the future," he said.

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