Friday, August 28, 2015

FG hails compensation of Centenary City landowners

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said he welcomed an assurance from the management of the Centenary City Plc that all the original inhabitants of the site have been fully compensated.
A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, quoted the President as speaking after being briefed by the Chairman of the company’s board of directors, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.) and members of its management team.
Shehu said Buhari praised the Centenary City’s main development partners from the United Arab Emirates for having enough confidence in Nigeria to agree to invest about $18.5bn in the project.
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He said the President also welcomed the assertion by Abubakar and his team that the project would create about 250,000 more direct jobs in the Federal Capital Territory and about half a million indirect jobs.
The statement added, “The President noted that skills, expertise and vast experience that will be brought into the country to build the Centenary City on the Dubai model, will also be of immense benefit to Nigeria’s overall development.
He said that he looked forward to regular updates on the Centenary City’s development.
“Vice President Yemi Osibanjo who was also present at the briefing, said that the issue of the rights of the original inhabitants of the site acquired for the Centenary City had been of concern to the present Administration.”
Shehu further quoted Osinbajo as saying that the government is glad that the issue of the rights of the original inhabitants is being handled.
Gen. Abubakar and the management of the Centenary City were also said to have told Buhari and Osinbajo that the project would be totally private sector-driven.
The Permanent Secretary of the FCT, Mr. John Chukwu, later told State House correspondents that Nigerians should not rely on what is in the public domain regarding the Centenary City.
He was apparently reacting to a statement credited to the National Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party for South-South, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, who petitioned the President demanding for a probe of the role of the immediate former Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim, in the multi-billion dollar project.
“I think if you have issues with the Centenary City, the best approach is to talk to those who know, to give you the information, not speculation,” Chukwu said.
He also said he was not aware of the alleged short-changing of Nigerians on N12bn waiver.
The firm’s Managing Director, Dr. Odenigwe Michael, explained that the firm is owned by 40 Nigerians and international investors.
“We have paid all the interested holders the compensation for the Centenary City site.
“We are going ahead with their relocation, also being supervised by the FCDA,” he explained.
The Executive Director of Eagle Hill, Jaimal Shergill, also said the project was ongoing, saying work has never stopped and he did not see it stopping.