President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday led other dignitaries to perform the ground-breaking and unveiling of the Abuja Centenary City Project.
This was just as a former military Head of State, Gen. Abdusalam Abubakar (rtd), appealed to Nigerians to give peace a chance.
The cost of the economic project situated at Airport Road meant to commemorate the 100 years of the nation’s amalgamation was put at N2.976tr ($18.6 bn).
Jonathan in his remarks described the project that was designed to cover 1,200 hectares of land as a city of hope and elegant as well as a symbol of the nation’s unity.
He said no other sign could demonstrate the symbol of his administration’s determination for excellence than the city which he said promises a unique and global standard in real estate project.
When completed, the President said the project would turn out to be a modern city where modern beauty will merge with architectural creativity.
He said his government’s determination was to make it a sustainable and viable economic project.
“We don’t want to build a city where everybody will have ‘maiguard’ (security guards), we don’t want a city where everybody will dig their bore holes and where everybody will be buying generators,” he said.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim, told the gathering that the city is not a housing project but strictly an economic project.
Anyim said the residential area that would be provided would only complement the business concerns.
He disclosed that a Dubai firm, Eagles Hills Properties, would develop the city at no cost to the government.
He said the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund Authorities had signed an agreement with to co-invest with the firm.
Anyim described the project as revolutionary, visionary and transformational.
Abubakar who is the chairman of the Centenary City Plc observed that it is only when peace reigns in all parts of the country that the project can be successful.
The former Head of State therefore called on Nigerians to ensure they maintain peace.
“It is only when there is peace that the project can be successful. It is the duty of every one of us to make sure that we maintain peace in the county,” he said.
The sum of N2.976 tr has been mopped up to develop the 1,200 hectares of land earlier earmarked by the FCT Administration for the purpose.
A total of N1.2bn being 100 percent compensation has been paid for economic trees of the original inhabitants as well as structures of some non natives situated in the area.
While 20 percent of the plots has been earmarked for residential houses, 80 percent is for mixed use and commercial purposes.
The Abuja Centenary City will be the second-largest private city development in history, and signals a new national economic awakening.
The City will incorporate a free trade zone, duty free regime, tax holidays and non-regulated banking services in an effort to boost trade and investment in Nigeria, and make it replica of the success of Dubai, Monaco, Shenzhen, Singapore and Songdo.