Abuja — The federal government yesterday approved the development of phase II of FESTAC Town in Lagos under a public-private partnership (PPP).
The arrangement will yield a total sum of N25.7 billion to it.
This was one of the outcomes of yesterday's Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The other outcome of the FEC meeting was the presentation of the 2012 performance report by the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro.
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, flanked by his Housing and Interior counterparts, Ms. Ama Pepple and Moro, said Pepple proposed to develop the remaining 1126 hectares of land acquired for FESTAC in 1977 and that the proposal was accepted by the council.
According to him, while over 2000 hectares was acquired by the federal government for the Phase I of FESTAC Town, only a portion was developed and the remaining was abandoned as a result of lack of funds, a situation which prompted the ministry to move to develop the phase II through the PPP arrangement.
Maku stated that the council approved that the remaining portion of land should be developed after reclamation is done by the New FESTAC Property Development Company (NFPDC) in order to fast track the project, which is "a way of developing the economy without dipping hands into government purse."
Pepple on her part explained that the concession of the project, granted to four companies, will span over 30-year period with three years moratorium, added that the sum of N150am will also accrue to the federal government as ground rent annually once it takes-off.
The minister, who gave another benefit of the project as the provision of jobs to Nigerians, also pointed out that 7,000 plots are to be carved out of the land and equipped with infrastructure facilities such as police stations, schools, shopping malls and others.
On the encroachment on the area envisaged for future development, she said government is aware of the situation but was yet to know the extent of such, pledging that "when the developers move in, the extent of the encroachment will be determined."
She also attributed the dilapidation of FESTAC Phase 1 to the refusal of its occupiers to pay the mandatory maintenance fee as stipulated in their letter of offer. She said the ministry discovered this after holding a stakeholders meeting. She emphasised that another meeting was being proposed to iron out this issue.
The ministry, she revealed, also discovered that there was problem with water supply in the area where all the four boreholes were spoilt.
She said the two have been repaired, but the people don't want to pay the maintenance fee.
On his part, Moro gave report on the new visa regime, issuance of passports to Nigerians and foreigners, performance of prison service, immigration service, fire service, National Security Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and matters of border control.
He enumerated the challenges of his ministry as new partnership to promote PPP in service delivery by departments and agencies under his purview, obsolete laws guiding the operations of the prisons and immigration services as well as the teething problem of prisons congestion occasioned by the subsisting nature of crime and punishment in the country.
The minister said many prisoners, out of the total of 38,000, are awaiting trial because there is no access to the nature of their crimes.
It is in realisation of this, he noted that a bill seeking to properly categorise crimes and punishments to be meted out to offenders has been sent to the National Assembly.
Moro stated that the ministry is looking at proposing punishments that will not entail incarceration of offenders, reduce prisons congestion and fashion further ways of rehabilitating prisoners, some of who are now enrolled in the Open University while some are writing WAEC and NECO to upgrade their educational standards.
Moro said he also briefed the council on expansion works done in prisons with a view to ameliorate congestion, introduction of an e-prison system to curb excessive jail breaks by taking biometrics of prisoners and embarking on electronic panoptics in the surveillance of prison walls.
Another matter on which he briefed the council was the need to tackle recidivism in the prison system.