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FCTA closes down Unity Fountain, says facility needs upgrade

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THE Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, on Tuesday, announced the temporary closure of the famous Unity Fountain in Maitama, Abuja, stating the facility would be rehabilitated before it will be opened to the public.

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Muhammad Bello said the park would be closed for three months for an upgrade of its recreational facilities, including the provision of the car park and perimeter fencing.

In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the FCT Minister, Anthony Ogunleye, he said the decrepit state of the park necessitated the action which he described as “expedient”.

“The FCT Administration has viewed with concern the state of several parks and gardens including the Unity Fountain along Shehu Shagari Way, Maitama.

“It is against this background and the symbolic nature of the unity fountain as a location symbolizing the oneness of the Nigerian people, that the FCT Administration has deemed it expedient to upgrade this facility,” he said.

He also specified the construction work billed to take place for the stipulated period the park would be closed.

“As a result, the unity fountain will be closed for this upgrade for between 60-90 days to allow for construction work which will include the provision of a car park, landscaping, and perimeter fencing.”

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The Administration also solicited the support and cooperation of members of the public and assured them that the park would be opened to the public on completion of the upgrade.

Unity Fountain has been the preferred location for civil protests and rallies in the Abuja, it has been hosting the daily sit-out by the #BringBackOurGirls movement for the past five years since over 200 Chibok schoolgirls were abducted in April 2014.

But following various rallies criticising the government’s handling of the abductions and other socio-economic issues in the country, security personnel were deployed to the park to prevent citizens from holding anti-government protests there.

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Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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