The Chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Abdullahi Candido, has alleged that N700 million due to AMAC is still being withheld by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
He was speaking when Ibrahim Dantshoho, Secretary, FCT Area Council Services Secretariat paid a familiarization tour to the council.
There have been rivalries between FCTA and AMAC over the body empowered by law to collect certain taxes, especially tenement rates in the city centre with the AMAC chairman insisting that the entire city centre, including the very space where the FCTA office is located, falls within AMAC’s jurisdiction.
Candido said he fears that he might not live up to the people’s expectations if he remains indifferent to the issue of funds and support due to the council.
The AMAC chairman insisted that he was ready to defend what belongs to his area council no matter the situation.
He said: “Area Councils are organs of government. While the area councils are submissive to the Federal Capital Territory Administration for supervision, for God’s sake give them what is due to them.
“The FCTA is expected to supervise and ensure transparent, and judicious, utilization of resources.
“About N700 million meant for AMAC is lying with the FCTA, why keep it for AMAC.
“The money should be given to us for service. Give the money to us and ensure supervision. Should there be any council or chairman that misappropriate the funds, there are laws that should catch up with the person.
“But if you refuse to give them, questioning how the volume of the funds will be spent and asking what they will do with the money, I think that is an aberration.
“When you refuse to speak truth to authority, things will remain unresolved. With the way FCTA relates with the area councils, if there is no change, I pity the administration of area councils coming behind. Very soon some area councils will fold up and go out of business. Things are rough here.
“In AMAC we have salaries close to N200 million. When we get the Joint Area Councils Allocation (JAAC) from FCTA, after one week, the money is gone.
“Constitutionally, the council is charged with the collection of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), but the FCTA is also interested in certain things that the area council is supposed to do.
“So with this, there is conflict. When we as area council serve notices to peoples on what is expected of them, FCTA also will serve them the same notice, then we end up in court,” he said.
The Mandate Secretary, FCT Area Council Services Secretariat (ACSS), Hon Ibrahim Dantsoho, promised to investigate the matter of funds raised by Candido and assured that whatever is due to AMAC will be released.