Uche Usim, Abuja

As Nigerians await the commencement of construction works on the $18.5 billion Abuja Centenary City, a developer and stakeholder in the project, Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, on Tuesday, disclosed that a section of the 1,262 hectare smart city has been earmarked for former Nigerian Presidents to use for their libraries and archives.

Dantata, at a press briefing to announce the commencement of civil works, said all matters that hitherto stalled the project, like compensating host communities, had been substantially addressed.

He noted that the project was also slowed down by people who hurriedly pulled out their investments when there was a change of government (from Goodluck Jonathan to Muhammadu Buhari), as they feared there would be no continuity.

Dantata called on civil servants, workers and other Nigerians with legitimate source of livelihood to latch on the golden opportunity of owning luxury and affordable houses that will soon spring up at the city.

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“This is a great thing. It is entirely private sector-driven and zero government funding. I am a developer and I have buhari towers that I will build for sale.

“There will be a distinct tower of 336ft in height to house every former President. “Each of them will have a floor to showcase their achievements. 10 floors have been earmarked for 5-star hotel and others for offices.

“The Centenary City project was initiated by Jonathan for 100 years celebration of Nigerian. It is a laudable socially, economically and financially viable project.

“It’ll create 250,000 daily jobs and house 140,000 residents.

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“It boasts of 260 luxury villas, 256 apartment building, 13 waterfront retail areas, 139 office buildings, 313,697 square meter hotel suites and serviced apartments, 30 floors of luxury apartments, among other offerings. We’re building a fresh $50 million city gate”, Dantata explained.

He said it cost $30 million to design the smart city and was handled by the same company that designed Abuja itself.

Dantata continued, “We’ll have a safari park and other facilities to guarantee a mega tourism industry like an amusement park, polo field, international golf course, Formula 1 racing track and a robust IT zone like the Silicon valley.

“It’ll have 40 hotels, 1,200km road network and all that”, he said.

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He also revealed that additional robust Environmental Impact Assessment was carried out around the area to ensure buildings are well designed and properly built to withstand tremors and other earth disturbances.

On affordability of the apartments, Dantata said workers can apply for housing mortgage loans.

“If you’re a senior civil servant for instance, you can take a second mortgage. We will build affordable flats.

“We’ve not arrived at true costs but we’re working around N15 million and not more than N20 million for a two-bedroom apartments.

“It will have modern amenities of course. We’re creating awareness and talking to service chiefs, top government officials etc to key into this project”, he added.