BY LEVINUS NWABUGHIOGU
ABUJA-The Federal Government yesterday disclosed that the Abuja Centenary City project conceived to mark Nigeria’s centenary celebration in January 2014 would attract direct foreign investment to the tune of N3 trillion to the country.
This is even as the Minister of Aviation, also stated that a project called Aerotropolis initiated by her Ministry for the event will help raise the standard of social infrastructures in the country as new roads, bridges, water drainages, portable water network, street lighting and telecommunication services will be built.
The Federal Government made the disclosure through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Senator Anyim Pius Ayim who appeared before the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on Land Allocation and Racketeering in Federal Capital Territory to brief it on the modalities so far mapped out for the events .
It will be recalled that the committee, two weeks ago, had invited the SGF to explain the allegation that the land for the centenary project was acquired illegally through land swap.
Another issue that cropped up was also the sources of funding.
But in his submission, Senator Anyim allayed fears of many Nigerians, saying that it will instead create employment for thousand of Nigerians.
He said the project would also maximize the land use act in the FCT, adding that government has so much to benefit from the project.
The SGF further stated that the project will be developed in 3 phases and will be completed between 7-10 years.
“The centenary city has potentials and we are anticipating that this city alone will bring foreign investment up to N3trillion into the country. It will bring direct foreign investment into the system and create employment and solve social problems like providing for the youths. It will also save foreign reserve because most of the things we go to do outside will now be done here. We are also hoping that international conferences that do not hold here because we don’t have the facilities can now hold in Abuja because those facilities will be in the city, he said.
He, however, assured the committee members that the project will not take off until all compensation are paid.
“Why nothing has happened on the site today yet is because the investors in the city will not want to have any problem at all. They want every encumbrances to the city to be resolved completely.
“The FCT administration is charged with anything compensation, resettlement and the authorities have already done the enumeration of those affected by the displacement including economic trees and buildings at the site.
“The FCT has already forwarded the total bill to the planners to pay off all the economic trees, all the structures, compensation, resettlement and rehabilitation. We are in the process of transferring money to the authorities so that they can use the proper process to resolve all that. The centenary city is not doing anything on the area until every challenge about the site is resolved.”
According to Anyim, the project would require 736 hectres of land out of the 1300 hectres.
He further clarified that the project was different from the Aerotropolis project being undertaken by the Aviation Ministry.
While answering questions on the proposed Aerotropolis project through the Abuja Land Swap scheme, the Minister, Princes Stella Oduah said that the project valued at about N300 billion will facilitate the provision of infrastructures including roads, bridges, storm water drainage, portable water network, street lighting and telecommunication services among others.
According to the Minister, the project will generate employment for Abuja many Nigerians especially Abuja indegenes.
“The Aerotropolis in Abuja will generate N100 billion in revenue, ten million employment for the Abuja indigenes and infrastructure investment of N300 billion as well as extend our GDP from aviation from 3 percent to 15 percent and create huge value chains in agriculture, tourism and a fatalist to economic growth.
“This infrastructure shall be of very high quality to support the concept of the Aerotropolis and it shall contain associated facilities that will give the users a sense of belonging. Community facilities will be provided to meet the demands of health, education, commerce, recreation and security along with the core elements of the Airport City,” the minister explained.