The FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello has restated the commitment of his Administration to partner with all religious bodies in the Federal Capital Territory to reduce cases of social vices across the Territory.
The Minister restated this while receiving the Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan who led a delegation of the Catholic community to pay him a courtesy visit in his office at Area 11, Garki, Abuja.
Malam Bello said that the partnership is very necessary to help re-orient the residents of the Territory in all spheres of live for the overall benefit of the country because no number of Police is enough to Police peoples’ attitude.
The Minister remarked that if people were more God fearing and dutiful, the law enforcement agents will have little or nothing to do because the laws would be respected and followed to the latter.
He emphasized that such partnership can be in the area of sensitization and mobilization on environmental sanitation and respect for traffic rules in the Federal Capital City.
His words: “The FCT Administration has done a lot of interventions in the areas of environmental sanitation and traffic management with some level of success, I therefore urge you the religious leaders to at every opportunity, inform the people to be good citizens as government alone cannot solve the city’s problems.”
According to him, “the traffic snarl in the FCT can be attributed partly to indiscipline on the roads by motorists that could be improved if the citizens are educated more on the need to obey basic traffic rules as part of their civic responsibilities”.
The Minister called for intensive advocacies by religious bodies to ensure that their various adherents become more conscious of their duties as citizens with a view to maintaining discipline and religious harmony in the society.
Malam Bello, similarly expressed concern over how religious organizations and politicians deface the city’s traffic signs with posters of their events, which he said was hurting other residents of the Territory.
“You see a signboard that is meant to guide people to a location costing money and then somebody, simply because he has an occasion coming up at somewhere, just goes and paste a poster to cover the signboard. Ordinarily, people will think it’s normal. But if we can preach and tell people it is wrong; it’s hurting other people because without that signboard, a driver will not be able to know whether to stop, or to go right or left”, he added.
“We need to do a lot of reorientation. No matter the number of policemen we keep on the streets, it’s not possible to be able to police everybody. Please continue to talk to our citizens for them to really be conscious of the rights and needs of other citizens,” Malam Bello stated.
He however, commended the Catholic Church over the various interventions it has done in the areas of health and education in the FCT; saying his Administration will continue to collaborate with the Church to strengthen the deliverance of these services to the Abuja residents.
The Minister made particular reference to the Daughters of Charity Hospital, Kubwa, which was recently removed to make way for the Abuja – Kaduna Railway project; saying that the FCT Administration has since provided alternative allocation to the Federal Ministry of Transportation to replace the hospital for the church.
Speaking earlier, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan described the FCT Administration as one of the most important and critical organs of government, saying that the teeming members of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja were praying daily for the Almighty God to guard and guide the Minister in delivering the task that has been placed on his shoulders.
Archbishop Onaiyekan assured the Minister of the cooperation and the goodwill of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja; adding that the church was of the firm belief that it should be partners in progress with the state in the service to the people and the greater glory of God.
“We thank the FCTA for allocating some land to enable us to relocate this wonderful project. We are waiting with hope for the government to fully make good the promise to help us rebuild these demolished structures and may God bless your positive intervention in this regard,” the Archbishop said.
He also urged the Minister to look into issues of allocation of land for religious and social service projects; support for Catholic University project of Nigeria – Veritas University, located in Bwari Area Council as well as encourage inter-religious initiatives.