Chris Steven, Abuja
The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello made this declaration today at the National Assembly during the public hearing on the Centenary project by the Senate Committee on the FCT.
Malam Bello revealed that the Centenary City Plc wrote the FCT Administration requesting for the revocation of a valid development agreement which was duely executed by the two parties as a pre condition to access the over 1, 200 hectares of land for the development of the city.
His words: Frankly speaking the Centenary City Plc is seeking to operate a parallel authority within the FCT. If not, how do you explain a situation where by the company is asking for the cancelation of the agreement between us and them only to enforce a third party agreement signed between them and another government agency”.
He reiterated that the project was a unique and well conceived idea which the administration is proud to be part of, insisting however, that the agreement clearly spelt out the obligations of each party in the project.
The minister said the arrangement which the company is trying to implement was reached between it and the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) which was signed after the company had earlier entered into a pact with the FCT Administration which qualified it to embark on the project.
He said the free trade zone status which the company is seeking to enforce did form part of the agreement between it and the FCT Administration.
Malam Bello therefore insisted that the administration cannot allow another set of laws to regulate any part of the territory, stressing that the matter has been forwarded to the office the Attorney General of the Federation for legal advise on whether it is proper to have an entity within the Federal Capital Territory operating outside the the FCTA laws.
He said while the administration remains committed to genuine efforts by investors to join hands in the development of the FCT, there is need for all the areas which are not agreeable to the FCT Administration to be further discussed so that the project can continue without any hitches.
“It can be clearly seen that implementing the NEPZA agreement in the Centenary city would be tantamount to having two governments in one city” the minister said.
Speaking eelier, the Chairman of the committee Senator Dino Melaye told the gathering that the meeting was called in order to identify the challenges that have hindered the smooth implementation of the Centenary city project.
He said the project which was conceived as a land mark for the attainment of Nigeria’s one hundred years as a nation would be of immense benefit to the country which the Senate as an institution would all that is necessary to make sure that it is realized.