Abuja - The Leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday explained that when completed, the proposed N4 billion African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM) will reduce the financial burden of rents for international bodies that were being hosted in Nigeria.
The PDP also explained yesterday that the increase in the budget proposals for the renovation of Vice President’s guest house became imperative following emerging security challenges in the country as well as the need to change the earlier designs, just as the PDP noted that the guest house was not strictly for the present Vice President Namadi Sambo, said.
In a statement by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the party warned the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and Congress for Progressive Change, CPC against what it termed politics of deceit following the stiff opposition to the project by these parties.
Metuh said, "Contrary to the odious and deliberate distortion of facts by the opposition, the building is not for the Nigerian First Lady. The complex on completion is to host the AFLPM which has the backing of the African Union as an instrument for championing women and youth development.
"The Peace Mission House is a public institution, a building in the likes of the Women Development Center, Nigerian Cultural Center among others which the law empowers the FCTA to build and operate in provision of facilities for the advancement of its development efforts. It will go a long way in reducing the financial burden in rents for international bodies being hosted by the country.
"Similarly, the increment in the budget of the official residence of the Vice President was occasioned by the changes in the redesigning, expertly advised to take care of emerging security challenges.
"The house is not for the exclusive benefit of the current Vice Present as the malicious propaganda of the opposition has been feeding the public with."
According to PDP, attack on Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed were designed by CPC and ACN to discredit him and the the PDP-led government of FCTA, adding, "The two political parties in their absurd releases accused the FCTA of budgeting the sum of N7billion for the construction of two Abuja City Gates; N5 billion for the rehabilitation of commercial sex workers and N4 billion for the construction of First Lady’s Office.
"They also claimed that the FCTA padded the budget for the construction of the Vice President’s official residence.
"It is however clear that this coalition of disparate forces are at their usual homage to deceit and bare-faced lies aimed first at misleading Nigerians and whipping up public anger against the PDP.
"It is unfortunate that the leadership of these political parties among whom are elders whose 'silver hairs' we thought, would avail the nation virtues to paraphrase Shakespeare in Julius Caesar, have turned to merchants of cheap lies in an attempt to slur the integrity of our leadership of the nation.
"There is no provision for the construction of the Abuja City Gate in the FCT 2013 budget and there is nowhere the FCT earmarked N5 billion for the rehabilitation of commercial sex workers in the said budget. We challenge the parties to prove us wrong.
"The truth is that the FCT administration has nothing to do with the proposed Abuja City Gates. The project is one of the items making up the Centenary City to be financed by the private sectors in earnest of corporate social responsibility towards the Centenary Celebrations. Neither is the FCTA connected to the Centenary City nor to the City Gate, as such does not exist in its budget.
"The FCTA did not provide the sum of N5 billion for the rehabilitation of commercial sex workers in the 2013 budget. What is public knowledge however that is the overall budget of the Social Development Department of the FCTA is N4.7 billion out of which the FCTA slated only N150 million for routine enforcement and general management of the rehabilitation centers including training and empowerment of rehabilitated sex workers. In fact, the budget was reduced from N225 million budgeted last year.
"Therefore, to tell Nigerians that the FCTA budgeted N5 billion for the rehabilitation of prostitutes when it is clear that only N150 million was budgeted for the sub-head under which it falls is to say the least despicable.
"What else but studied obscurantism will blind the opposition elements to the massive infrastructural development going on in the FCT under the current administration?
"The opposition is well aware of the Land Swap Initiative of the FCT administration which in partnership with the private sector has delivered a sizable part of a total of 500,000 houses in 10 new districts while providing jobs for half a million Nigerians.
"Is the opposition blind to the on-going Social Housing Scheme set to deliver a total of 50,000 free houses for Nigerians? Does the opposition not feel the vibration of massive construction in all crannies of the city as in Abuja Light Rail Scheme; the new 10 lane Outer Circular Roads as well as the on-going resurfacing of the inner roads within the city?
"The bottom-line is that both the ACN and the CPC are daily proving to Nigerians that their political parties thrive in lies and deceit; an opposition lacking in character and in attitude, a brood of self ambitious dictators united in a shameful agenda of lies to mislead the people.
"This is certainly not the type of leaders Nigerians will entrust their fate to."