By JACOB KUBEKA, Abuja
At long last, the development of the Abuja Centenary Economic City, expected to initially create over 250,000 job opportunities to Nigerians, is set to commence, the promoters and other relevant stakeholders announced on Wednesday.
The multi-million Dollar project, conceived in 2014 to celebrates 100 years of the amalgamation of Nigerian, has been stalled for four years due to compensational and legal issues, among a number of obstacles.
Yesterday, however, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Mr. Emmanuel Jime, declared that all obstacles hindering the take-off of the legacy project have almost been completely cleared, thus paving the way for its implementation.
Already, bulldozers and other earth-moving equiptment have moved to the site along the Abuja Airport road and are clearing of the site for the polo ground.
Speaking at the presentation of the City plans and programmes in Abuja, Mr. Jime revealed that a report to this effect has been prepared and is waiting to be presented to the President for his approval.
“Most of the grey areas that have hindered the take-off have been cleared through the involvement of NEPZA with the FCTA, NIPC and other relevant agencies,” he said.
Mr. Jime who said the Abuja Centenary City was conceptualized and initiated at the same time with Eko Atlantic City, expressed happiness that the project is about to witness a gigantic leap.
He revealed that with the Abuja Centenary City, there would be no need for Nigerians to go abroad for shopping and tourism, adding that this would also stem capital flights occasioned by Nigerians visiting places like Dubai and the United States of Amerca.
Two traditional rulers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT): the Chief of Juwa, Alhaji Idris Musa, and the Gomo of Kuje, Alhaji Haruna Jibrin Tanko, acknowledged that the indigenes that were displaced from the area have been fully compensated and are being resettled.
They said that about N1.23 billion was paid out as compensation, which covered payment for economic trees and other facilities such as relocation of the power grid that passed through the area.
Mr. Jime expressed optimism that within the next two months earnest work would commence in the over 1,260 square hectares of land located along the Airport road, Abuja.
Earlier, the Managing Director/CEO of the Centenary City Plc (Centenary Economic City Free Zone), Dr. Michaels Ike Odenigwe had itemized five areas that make the City exceptionally different from other free zones within Nigeria and beyond.
Such areas include the first Urban Safari park in any free zone in the world, an international polo ground and creation of over 250,000 job opportunities.
Dr. Odenigwe who said the entire project is private sponsored, revealed that most of the proposed projects have already been taken up by investors from both within and outside the country and particularly Nigerians in the diaspora.
He assured that the Abuja Centenary City would be the flag-ship of all free zones in the country because of the volume of infrastructure it would provide.
One of the investors present at the occasion, Alhaji Alhassan Dantata disclosed that his company is constructing the polo ground and the highest tower in the city which he has christened Buhari Tower and which would provide accommodation at N15million per block of flats.
He said that the ground breaking ceremony for the tower would take place within two months while work on the polo ground has commenced.
The Executive Director of Front Range (the developers from Dubai), which is partnering with the City authority, Mr. Jaimal Shergill, led the visual presentation of the different components of the project, which he said was conceptualized in line with the concept of Dubai.