By Philip Yatai
Mr Nyesom Wike, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Wednesday pledged continued support for the maintenance and development of the Abuja National Mosque.
Wike made the promise when the Abuja National Mosque Management Board, led by its Chairman, the Etsu Nupe (the chief of Nupe people), Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, visited him in Abuja.
The minister assured the board members that the FCT Administration would not hesitate to support the maintenance of the Mosque, having been declared a National Monument.
“No government will hesitate to support the maintenance of a National Monument, be it for Christians or Muslims.
“I will always give support to anything that has to do with Islamic affairs.
“Whatever assistance the previous administration has been helping, if we do not surpass it, we will continue to do that,” Wike said.
The minister also extended the three months grace period for the development of undeveloped plots for the religious body considering how they generate resources for projects.
The extension was for Plot 99, belonging to the National Mosque, which was currently being developed.
“For Plot 99, we will extend the date for you as a religious group because your project depends on donations and support from people,” the minister said.
Wike also gave Mr Shehu Ahmad, the Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority, 24 hours to explain the position of Plot 63, also belonging to the Mosque, but situated on a road corridor.
He directed Ahmad to consider providing an alternative plot or determine the portion of the land that would be affected by the road, including the compensation.
Earlier, Abubakar explained that the visit was to congratulate Wike on his appointment as the minister of the FCT and pray for God’s wisdom and strength to enable him to deliver his mandate.
He pointed out that the National Mosque had been declared a National Monument, adding that the structure needs to be maintained and sustained.
The chairman disclosed that the FCTA had made a commitment to support the maintenance of the Mosque, noting however that the rehabilitation and renovation of the mosque had stopped.
He added that Plots 99 and 63, belonging to the National Mosque, were among plots that were given three months to commence development or face revocation.
He said that plot 99 was receiving the needed attention, adding however that work on plot 63 was suspended based on the directive of the FCTA.
He said that the suspension was on the ground that an expressway passes through the plot based on the Abuja Master Plan.
“We are hoping that by the time that portion of the land that would be affected is removed, we will know what remains and then how to be compensated by the authority.
“We crave your indulgence to let us have the position of the authority on that land,” he appealed. (NAN)
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola