Those who are close to the administration told this newspaper that the Minister is unwilling to appoint him because he is not from Northern Nigeria.
The failure of Mohammed Musa Bello, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to appoint a substantive director for the FCTA’s Department of Treasury since March 2021, when the former director retired has crippled service delivery in the nation’s capital.
The FCT Treasury Department was established to manage the funds of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and its mandate secretariats, departments and agencies as well as to perform other treasury functions of the FCTA.
But the department has been redundant as it is now being overseen by the Director of Admin and Finance but senior officials in the Treasury Department who did not want to be named said he has limitations as he cannot sign cheque.
“The Minister has not appointed another director of treasury since our director retired in March 2021. It’s only the Director of Admin and Finance that is in charge but he has no power to function in that capacity,” the unnamed FCTA official said.
According to another source, the Minister has been foot dragging in appointing the most senior officer to the position because he is not a Northerner.
The last director of the department retired in March last year, but the most senior civil servant next to him has yet to be promoted to the position. Those who are close to the administration told this newspaper that the Minister is unwilling to appoint him because he is not from Northern Nigeria.
This development according to many inside sources has led to a backlog of unpaid contractors who have resorted to protesting at the FCTA headquarters every Monday.
“The Minister is so slow that every Monday, contractors who are being owed usually come to FCTA complex to protest and the absence of a director at the Treasury Department is a key factor. There is no one to sign their cheque. That’s why you will always see police men around FCTA to prevent the protest,” one of them said.
In November last year, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations, threatened a mass action against the minister over his alleged refusal to appoint a substantive Director of Treasury.
The FCT Coordinator of the coalition, Galadima Nagwamatse, in a letter addressed to the Minister of the FCT titled ‘Notice of Mass Protest to Demand Appointment of Substantive Director of Treasury in FCTA’, said the notified all relevant security agencies of the planned protest.
“With regards to the lingering issue of maladministration and subversion of rules and due process in your office due to your deliberate inability to appoint substantive Director of Treasury in FCTA, we hereby wish to notify you of our resolution after a meeting of the above named organisation and with the approval and support of the national body,” the letter read in part.
“After fourteen (14) days of receipt of this letter, if a substantive director of Treasury is not appointed or a process leading to the appointment is put in place we will be left with no other option than to mobilise our members and other civil society organisations to picket your office on a peaceful protest to press home our demand.”
The FCT Minister has been largely criticized for his style of administration which many said is responsible for the slow pace of development in the FCT.
He has been accused of not treating many files on his table while Sir. Adesola Olusade, the Permanent Secretary is the one helping him out in signing those files.
“If your file needs urgent treatment and it gets to the Minister’s desk, forget it, it would be there till next year except the Perm Sec goes there to pack them,” a source said.
He alleges that the Minister spends most of his productive hours visiting the Presidential Villa every week even while there are official duties for him to attend to in the office.
On the rare occasions that he shows up at his office, they worry that he does not seem to understand the urgency in public service as a result of his conduct, or the lack of it, said an official who pleaded for anonymity.
"Files stay for over a month, sometimes more without any reason or explanation in the Minister's office. We can tell you categorically there are files which have not been treated from last year to this day. The owners of these files are Nigerians and taxpayers that lose billions simply because the Minister has failed to do his job."
Engineer Abdulkadir Muhammad, a senior partner in a real estate company in Abuja, said, "The minister's behaviour is impunity of the highest order."
He expressed worries that many businesses and investments would be bad affected if the Minister is left to continue in his slow motion pace and nonchalant behavior towards official duties.
Some of who are familiar with the itinerant of the minister say he visits the presidential villa at least four times in a week, though the reasons behind those visits are not known.
“The Minister goes to the Villa everyday, I’m certain about this, but nobody knows why such daily trip to the villa,” said one FCTA official that did not want to be named.
He also corroborated that this has had negative impacts on the workings of the nation’s capital which is currently facing a lot of challenges including insecurity and shortage of infrastructural development particularly in the Satellite towns.
“This is the first time we will be having a near absentee minister, who must first go to the villa before working on files and documents on his table,” the official said.