Senate launches probe into Abuja’s $18.5bn centenary city failure

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The Senate has taken decisive action to address the stagnant progress of the $18.5 billion Centenary City project in Abuja.

In response to a motion presented by Yisa Ashiru Oyelola of the APC representing Kwara state, the Senate has formed an ad hoc committee to investigate the factors hindering the completion of the project.

The committee has been specifically tasked with scrutinizing the original public-private partnership agreement and proposing amendments, if necessary, to facilitate the project’s swift completion within a defined timeframe. Additionally, the Senate has called upon the Federal Government to prioritize the revival of the Abuja Centenary City project by offering appropriate support, resolving regulatory issues, and tackling any other obstacles.

The motion, titled “Urgent Need to Revive and Complete the Stalled Centenary Abuja Project,” underscores the significance of the initiative, highlighting that the initial estimated investment of $18.5 billion in 2014 equated to the size of Nigeria’s current national budget.

Originally envisioned as a potential economic hub, the Abuja Centenary Economic City project aimed to generate over 190,000 construction jobs and 250 million permanent, well-paying jobs, while providing residential accommodation for more than 200,000 residents.

Designated as a free trade zone under the regulatory oversight of the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), the project also involved statutory agencies such as the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Abuja Investment Company (AIC), and Abuja Infrastructure Investment Centre (AIIC).

Yisa Ashiru Oyelola, in defense of his motion, pointed out the significant progress made on the $6 billion Eko Atlantic City development project in Lagos. In contrast, the Abuja Centenary City project has remained stalled for nearly a decade since its inception, with developmental estimates indicating less than 7 percent progress in road construction and other critical infrastructure, according to an independent investigation assessment.

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