From Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, yesterday, performed the groundbreaking for the Nigerian Army Conference Centre in Abuja.
The state of the art project located at Lungi Barracks in Asokoro, comprises a one thousand seats auditorium and banquet hall; 500 seats conference hall and 80-room hotel accommodation.
In his address at the occasion, the COAS, while noting that the project was in line with his vision centred on professionalism, readiness, administration and cooperation, said the facilities would address the challenges faced by the Nigerian army in securing accommodation and ample spaces for meetings, conferences, workshops, seminars and lectures in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The COAS, who said hosting events in a high-quality venue would improve the public image of the Nigerian army and demonstrate its commitment to professionalism and excellence, added that renting out the facilities would also generate revenue to offset the costs of maintenance and potentially fund other initiatives of the service.
Gen Yahaya, while noting that the attainment of this vision depends on decisive psychological influence on personnel willingness to fight, which is achievable through adequate concern for their welfare, said: “This entails sound administration through purposeful welfare programmes for personnel and members of their families through enhancing their well-being.
He said: “This belief has partly informed my drive in the construction and rehabilitation of numerous facilities across Nigerian Army formations and units which ranges from accommodation, office complexes, Forward Operating Bases, schools and other support facilities. These will shore up troops’ morale and well-being, thereby enhancing their operational efficiency which remains my top priority.”
He urged the Nigerian Army Special Projects team to ensure that the construction of the facilities was executed in line with global best practice, just as he reiterated the commitment of the officers and soldiers to professionalism in performing their constitutional duties.
Earlier in his address, the Coordinator, Nigerian Army Special Projects, Major General Shamsideen Shafaru, said the projects comprised auditorium, conference centre, banquet hall and hotel, adding that the one thousand capacity auditorium would have VIP lounge, common room, media rooms, foyer, reception and COAS office, among others.
He said: “In addition, the banquet hall, comprises 1,000 capacity hall, reception, two kitchens, pantry/servery and offices. The hotel has 80 rooms (VIP suites, executive suites, double suites and single suites), reception, offices, restaurant/bar, gymnasium, kitchen, mini shopping mall and mini meetings hall and a pool. Other ancillary structures include a modern shopping mall, fire service station, mini clinic, recreational centre, botanical garden, green area, road network and large parking lots.”
Gen Shafaru, while noting that the facilities, when fully operational, would be capable of extending its services to the civil populace, in addition to its primary functions, said, “this conference centre is strategically located near major landmarks in the Abuja metropolis for easy accessibility.
Also speaking, the Executive Director, Mouna-Mo Construction Limited and contractor of the project, Umar Muhammed, said the project is expected to be completed in six months.