It has been about a year since you took up your post as Administrator of the Kaduna Metropolitan Authority. What major projects have you launched in the local communities of Zaria, Sabon Gari, Giwa and Soba?
Upon taking office, I faced the rigors of setting up a new office, deploying staff and office space. However, after settling down, we embarked on four major projects, including street naming and house numbering exercise, township road construction, street lamp installation, and daily collection and disposal solid waste in the metropolitan area. We have also worked closely with the Kaduna Vigilance Service (KADVS) to improve the provision of local security, particularly in Giwa, and recently across Zaria Metropolitan Authority. This is imperative given the deteriorating level of insecurity in parts of Giwa Local Government Area at a time. The roads that are being built have been well applauded by the beneficiaries. This is largely because we consulted extensively with local government council chairmen to prioritize roads due to lack of funds.
Where are the road projects located?
The roads under construction are as follows. We have three and two routes in Zaria and Sabon Gari respectively. These are the road from Kofar Jatau to Adada Pharmacy; Umaru Dikko House at Salihu Dansanda Road; PHC at Federal College of Education Junction of road in Zaria local government area and Layin Barazana roads in Dogarawa and Benin street roads in Sabon Gari local government area.
You got into the street naming and numbering exercise when you came on board. Why is this exercise necessary for a city like Zaria that has existed for centuries?
Very well. Zaria, as you know, is an ancient city and requires all modern amenities and services needed in a modern city. I believe that was one of the reasons His Excellency, in his wisdom, created the ZMA. To uplift the metropolis, and as part of our mandate, we have engaged with the Kaduna State Bureau of Statistics, Kaduna State Urban Planning Development Authority (KASUPDA), Kaduna State Geographic Information Services (KADGIS) and other stakeholders to adopt a standard street naming and house numbering method to facilitate identification, referencing and doing business in the metropolitan area. Street names will facilitate the provision of services through the development of a consistent numeric addressing system in the MAZ.
We therefore organized a stakeholder meeting involving the Zazzau Emirate Council, District Heads, members of the leadership of local governments in the metropolitan area, to raise awareness and assess the acceptability of the exercise. At present, we have completed the first phase which is fieldwork to physically map all the streets in the entire MAZ. This exercise allowed us to digitize all the streets of the Zaria Metropolitan Authority (ZMA), including the lanes. We will soon begin the second phase which consists of installing signage and house numbers.
What criteria did you use in the street naming exercise? Did certain streets bear the names of personalities who resided there? Were any of them named after certain landmarks?
In naming streets, we have adopted the universal street naming standard. Thus, we have kept the existing traditional street names and, where they are inappropriate, we allow district or ward leaders to recommend a better one. In doing so, we organized a stakeholder meeting where we sensitized the members on the exercise and then printed the digitized maps of all the districts. We then allowed district leaders to consult with different neighborhood leaders to validate existing names and recommend changes to those that might be inappropriate. However, for some derogatory street names such as Layin Barazana, Jahannama road, Layin Maguzawa, etc., stakeholders agreed that we should change them to more appropriate names. On streets that may require new names, we will charge a fee to people who wish to name a street after themselves.
Recently, the Zaria Metropolitan Authority has embarked on the disposal of garbage from the city and its surroundings. Doesn’t it encroach on the functions of local governments?
The disposal of waste generated by households, institutions, commercial establishments is an everyday matter that must be carried out to ensure a serene and ecologically healthy metropolis. I can assure you that we are doing all of this in close collaboration with the local government chairmen and the Kaduna State Environmental Protection Agency (KEPA). Essentially, we are not impinging on any of the functions of the LGA or KEPA. If you look at the Authority’s mandate, you will confirm that.
In short, what is the mandate of the Zaria Metropolitan Authority, especially with regard to its relations with the council presidents?
Article 5 (1) of the law establishing the Metropolitan Authority of Zaria states that “the functions devolved to the ministries, departments and agencies and to the local administrations, as described in outline below, are delegated for be exercised by the Authority in the fields more particularly described in the Annex to this law: a) construction of arterial, connecting and subdivision roads; (b) maintenance of all roads, street lighting , utility lines and sewers; (c) the cleaning of all roads, sewers and waterways; (d) the maintenance of gardens, open spaces, parks, recreational facilities or other public facilities (e) naming of roads and streets and numbering of buildings; (f) the provision and maintenance of public facilities, sewers, waste collection and garbage disposal; (g) establishment, maintenance and regulation nation of markets, car parks and on-street parking; (h) the control and regulation of the movement and keeping of animals, pets and birds of all kinds; (i) control and regulation of outdoor advertising and billboards; j) control and regulation of hotels, motels, event centers and laundries; k) control and regulation of shops, kiosks, restaurants, bakeries and other places where food is sold to the public; licenses for the sale of alcohol; provision of emergency services; transport and traffic management.
From the above you will see that the law was unambiguous in the functions of the Authority vis-à-vis the functions of local governments. The presidents have understood this and therefore we are working in harmony.
Why is the Authority using an ad hoc arrangement using casual staff to keep Zaria clean instead of contracting out the work to professional waste collectors?
I must confess that the art and science of waste collection is something new to me. Also, it’s not as simple as you see. However, when we arrived there was an agreement between the Ministry of Environment and some contractors who were cleaning up Zaria, Kaduna and Kafanchan. These contracts expired in June and therefore we must begin the process of recruiting contractors as directed by the State Executive Council. In the meantime, we must ensure the continued cleaning and sweeping of the main streets of the Zaria Metropolitan Authority (ZMA) and the disposal of the piles of waste generated each day, hence the need for this temporary arrangement, whereby the LGAs provided sweepers to clean the streets, while we are rolling out a company to remove rubbish, as we complete our procurement process for contractors.
What has been the relationship between the Zaria Metropolitan Authority and the chairpersons of local government councils over the past year?
He was very excellent: supportive and cooperative.
ZARIA METROPOLITAN Facts
– Over the past year, the Metropolitan Authority of Zaria has awarded road contracts and contractors have mobilized to the site;
-There are three roads which are being constructed in Zaria local government and they include the road from Kofar Jatau to Adada Pharmacy; Umaru Dikko House at Salihu Dansanda Road and PHC Road at Federal College of Education Junction;
– In Sabon Gari local government, the road from Layin Barazana to Dogarawa and the road from Benin Street are under construction;
– Zaria Metropolitan Authority (ZMA) has engaged with Kaduna State Bureau of Statistics, Kaduna State Urban Planning Development Authority (KASUPDA), Kaduna State Geographic Information (KADGIS) and other stakeholders with the aim of adopting a standard street name and house number;
-It will facilitate the identification of the house, the referencing as well as the business in the metropolitan area;
-Street names will also facilitate the provision of services through the development of a consistent numeric address system throughout the MAZ.