A total of 16 companies are expected to invest close to 4billion US Dollars to develop 10 districts that would make up the new Abuja smart city. The Federal Government says the city is being developed as part of activities to mark the nation?s centenary celebration slated for 2014.

According to a statement credited to the Minister for Information Labaran Maku, the development of the proposed city would be private sector driven while the site would be provided by the Federal Government through the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), adding that government would not put any money into the project except on the provision of some basic facilities.

?The new city that has been proposed as part of our centenary celebration is entirely private sector driven and no kobo from the government. Let that be very clear. This is absolutely private sector driven with private sector investment. All that government will do is to provide an area through the FCT, agree on a proper design and then it will be taken up completely, totally by the private sector. The only few government?s facility that will be there will be an archive for celebrations,? the Minister said.

President Goodluck Jonathan had said that the government would mark the nation?s 100 years of existence during an official visit to Jamaica, where he attended the Caribbean country?s 178th Anniversary of Emancipation and the 50th anniversary of its independence recently.

Also briefing correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, the Minister of FCT, Sen. Bala Muhammed, frowned at the negative reactions of some people to FEC?s approval of a new Banquet Hall at the Presidential Villa. He dismissed claims that N2.2 billion approved for the construction of the project was not captured in the FCT statutory allocation.

?I wish to clear the misconception that we don?t have a provision in the budget and to explain that the FCT operates two budgets. It is in the FCT statutory budget. On the development of the new ?Smart City?, the FCT Minister stated that it was in line with government?s policy of unbundling the FCT to private initiative.

Nigeria, as a geo-political entity, came into existence following the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates in 1914 by Britain. Nigeria, therefore, became a nation when the then Governor-General of the country, Lord Frederick Lugard, merged the Southern and Northern Protectorates.

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