Mr. Felix Obiora Nwakwo is the director of Satellite Towns Development Agency (STDA) of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA). In this interview, he said the agency has achieved successes since 2017 when he assumed office by carrying out various road projects despite funding challenge. He also spoke on complaint of delay in completion of Gwagwalada-Dobi-Izom road, among other issues. Excerpts:
What is the Satellite Towns Development Agency (STDA) doing to address infrastructural challenges in the towns?
I have been the director of STDA since 2017. We supervise the development of infrastructure within the satellite towns. The minister, during his first tenure, paid for most of the ongoing projects at the satellite towns.
A typical example is a project in Abaji. We have completed the six-kilometre road within Abaji housing estate. We are also working on the Nuku-Rubochi-Gwargwada road which is about 30 percent completed. And it was through the initiative of the minister that we have also been able to control a gully erosion at Anguwar Wadata, along Aygana-Pandagi road through the Ecological Funds Office.
Others are Yaba-Pache road and the contract for the construction of Dabgara-Yaba road which has been awarded. In Gwagwalada, the six-kilometre Dagiri road has been completed and the road in Gwagwalada housing estate is ongoing. There are several projects in Kuje, Bwari and Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).
Residents of Nuku-Rubochi-Gwargwada are complaining over the slow pace of the ongoing rehabilitation of the road. Why the delay?
It is not that the rehabilitation work on the road has stopped, but because of the rainy season the contractor handling the road has put work on hold. We trust the contractor because he has just completed the Abaji housing estate roads. So I don’t think he has abandoned it or there is slow pace of work on that road. I can assure that the moment the rain subsides, the contractor will return to site.
What are the challenges facing the agency especially as it involves funding of projects across satellite towns?
Funding is one of the major challenges. As we all know, we don’t have enough money to do all projects we are expected to do. Also, we are trying to engage local contractors but some of them are difficult but we have been able to handle them.
Residents complain about some projects, especially road projects, in the satellite towns of being substandard. What is your take on this?
The truth is that, firstly, it is not the agency that awards contracts. Contract are awarded by FCTA procurement and we follow the Procurement Act. The FCTA does the procurement for us and sends people at the committee level to inspect. We however always make sure that all the contractors follow laid out standards and conditions.
We have standards and conditions that we issue to them the moment they are on the site and we make sure that all the relevant tests are done at the site. So we follow everything to make sure that work done is according to our standard and specifications.