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Nigerian Senate Launches Probe Into Delayed $18.72bn Centenary City Project. By: Mercy Adewunmi

Nigerian Senate Launches Probe Into Delayed $18.72bn Centenary City Project

Abeni Aso-Oke

Abeni Aso-Oke

The Nigerian Senate has taken action by establishing a seven-man ad-hoc committee to investigate the stalled $18.72 billion Centenary City Project in Abuja. The aim of the committee is to identify the impediments hindering the completion of the project.

During the Senate proceedings, there was a strong call for the Federal Government to prioritize the Abuja Centenary City Project for economic revival. Senate President Godswill Akpabio emphasized the importance of completing the project, stating, “Abuja is already getting congested, it will be fantastic if the Centenary City Project is seen to completion. If this is done, I think it will help. So, we must take it seriously.”

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The Senate’s decision to probe the project was prompted by a motion put forward by Senator Yisa Ashiru, who raised concerns about alleged irregularities surrounding the massive investment in the Centenary City Project.

According to Ashiru,”It is an urgent need to revive and complete the stalled centenary project in Abuja to maximize its intrinsic and economy development potentials. Original estimated investments for Abuja Centenary Economy City project was 18.5 billion United States dollars as of 2014 equivalent to the size of Nigeria national budget at today’s exchange rate”

Several lawmakers expressed support for the investigation, with Senator Ali Ndume highlighting the significance of restarting the project 10 years after its launch. Some Senators suggested that the private sector should play a key role in driving the completion of the project, as the Federal Government might not have the financial capacity to inject additional funds.

“The conception of the project was very loudable and many Nigerians were looking up to it. Unfortunately, 10 years after launching it, we have not achieved any progress. It should be one of our greatest achievement if the 10th Senate can restart the project which is very important. Looking around the world, it is such project that makes a city bigger, better and beautiful.”

In response to the motion, Sen. Isah Jibrin of Kogi East proposed that the private sector should take the lead in the project, calling on the federal ministry of finance to collaborate with global investment partners to attract investors.

“Going forward, I want the Federal government to concentrate on the private sector because Looking at the state of Nigeria’s economy I don’t think the Federal government is in the position to inject any additional fund into the project. I believe that the private sector should drive this process and in doing that, I also want to call on the federal ministry of finance to put together a team of investment partners worldwide to come up with a package that will enable investors to invest in that Project”.

Following debates on the motion, Senate President Godswill Akpabio appointed Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin, as the chairman of the committee responsible for investigating the reasons behind the delays in the Abuja Centenary City Project. The committee is expected to report back within four weeks with their findings.

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