From Fred Itua, Abuja

The Senate on Tuesday moved to investigate the failure of the Abuja $18.5 billion centenary city in Abuja.

Adopting a motion sponsored by Yisa Ashiru Oyelola (APC, Kwara state) the Senate resolved to set up an adhoc committee to “urgently Investigate the factors impeding the completion of the Centenary’s City Abuja project”.

The upper legislative chamber specifically tasked the committee “to review the original public-private partnership agreement and recommend amendments, if necessary, to facilitate smooth and expeditious completion of the project within a defined timeframe.

The Senate also urged the Federal Government “to prioritise the revival of the Abuja Centenary City project by providing appropriate support, resolving regulatory issues, and addressing any other impediments, given its beneficial potential to the economy and people of Nigeria after 10 years of stalled progress.”

The motion tagged, “Urgent Need to revive and complete the stalled Centenary Abuja Project,” drew the attention of the Senate to the fact that the “original estimated investment for the Abuja Centenary Economic City project was $18.5 billion as of 2014, equivalent to the size of Nigeria’s national budget at today’s exchange rate”

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The original vision for the Abuja Centenary Economie City project was for it to serve se a potential economic hub, with a plan to create over 190,000 construction jobs, 250M permanant well-paying jobs, residential eccommodation for over 200,000 residents.

The Abuja Centenary City was designated as a free trade zone under the regulatory oversight of the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NIPZA), without prejudice to other statutory agencies like the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Abuja Investment Company (AIC) and Abuja Infrastructure Investment Centre (AIIC).

Defending his motion earlier, Oyelola observed that significant progress has been made on the similarly ambitious $6billion Eko Atlantic City development project in Lagos.

He also observed that the Abuja Centenary City project has been stalled for almost ten years since its commencement, with developmental estimates of less than 7% of road construction and other critical infrastructure as adjudged by the report of the Independent investigation assessment.