Leading Civil Rights Advocacy Group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to perish the thought of completing the Abuja Tower project but instead, the humongous cash should be utilised to set up Mass/low costs housing schemes, introduce mechanisms for support of SMEs operating in Abuja, and upgrading of primary health care and primary schools domiciled in the rural communities of the FCT which in very bad shapes.
HURIWA described the Abuja Tower as a white elephant project which right from conception and its shady implementation represents a money guzzling machine, a cesspool of corruption for officials and their contractors friends to line their pockets with filthy lucre just as the Rights group said the Federal Capital Territory landscape is dotted with natural edifices, sites and sounds that if harnessed by the FCT Administration would be the best tourism potential than fritter scarce resources completing a project with zero economic value to the Nigerian masses. HURIWA said it was even better to inject the funds in making the FCT clean and green, planting more trees and flowers, and by restoring the original masterplan that created Green Areas and natural parks which have mostly been misused by the Development Control CARTEL within the FCTA to advance their selfish commercial purposes.
HURIWA told minister Nyesom Wike that foreign tourists coming mostly from Western civilisations and advanced societies like UK, USA, CANADA, AUSTRALIA, to mention a few, are already sick and tired of living in their skyscrapers and gigantic buildings even much more taller than the Abuja Tower just as the Rights group doubted if any serious tourists from the Westetn societies will spend their hard earned cash to come to see Abuja Tower.
The Rights group said foreign tourists from rich societies often prefer visiting natural habitats which the group believes, abound in many areas of the FCT which the politicians running government should harness and commercialise for profitability.
HURIWA also faulted the claim that the Abuja Tower if completed will serve as a centre of national unity because according to the Rights group the project if completed with taxpayers money may most likely be diverted to private hands through a contrived Public Private sectors ownership arrangement which would be hatched and implemented by the politicians and contractors running things in the nation’s Capital and therefore the hoi polloi won’t have the benefit of deriving any services from a completed Abuja Tower.
HURIWA thinks the best thing for government is to privatise the project as it is now and to put the huge funds to be frittered in completing it towards achieving affordable mass housing schemes for Abuja residents and civil servants working for federal government agencies located in the FCT, standardisation of health and educational institutions for rural children.
HIRIWA recalled that the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, said the iconic Millennium Tower, which has been abandoned due to paucity of funds, would be completed in the next two years. He disclosed this after a closed-door meeting with contractors handling different projects in the FCT. The Millennium Tower that straddles the Central Business District in Abuja is a tourist site designed to showcase the country’s unity and strength and provide study and relaxation.
HURIWA recalled that last year, the federal government said that $400 million would be required to complete the 170 metres high tower, which construction was started in 2005, by Salini Construction Nigeria Limited but has been abandoned due to lack of funds just as Mr. Wike described the Millennium Tower project as a very important project that would change the landscape of Abuja.
Wike had stated thus: “It is a very, very ambitious project, but again if we are talking of Abuja being one of the best cities in the world, then we must have such a facility. I can tell you it is not easy to go into that project, but we have decided that whatever it takes, it is going to be one of the legacy projects for President Bola Tinubu. In fact, we are looking at the next two years, if the way we are going to structure our payment is agreeable with the contractor,” Wike said.
HURIWA quoting publicly published profile stated that the project had reached 40 per cent completion and was expected to upon completion, self-finance itself from revenue generated from all the commercial activities in the complex. The project, which dominates the National Square has space for 1,100 cars and houses the National Museum at various levels, the National Theatre as well as a five-star model hotel with 55 luxury rooms and nine suites for about 130 persons. Its expansive arcade which consists of a 40,000 square metres platform was designed to host national and other events. In addition, it boasts offices, passive and active recreational facilities, a 1200 capacity auditorium and conference rooms.
Others are exhibition halls, shops, a sport centre with an indoor pool, gyms, fitness, squash courts and a two-level 1,200 capacity basement car park. The key feature of the structure designed like a flower surrounded by transparent wings is a revolving panoramic restaurant for more than 130 diners.
HURIWA however said government has no business in setting up hotels, shopping malls for businesses or individuals to rent but the Abuja Tower project is such a venture that totally falls under the jurisdiction of the private sector just as the Rights group urged the Ministers of FCT to reconsider the hasty, thoughtless, economically wasteful decision to complete such a white elephant project using scarce public funds instead of pouring such funds to other useful ventures such as Mass housing scheme, standardisation of primary healthcare facilities in rural areas of the FCT and upgrading and standardising rural primary schools that constitute health hazards due to the fact that majority of the public primary schools in the FCT are dilapidated and unhygienic for our Children to get any sort if quality primary education.
HURIWA expressed her readiness to send to the minister, pictorials that it took from different primary schools in the nation’s Capital few months back, that are in dilapidated conditions that urgently should be upgraded instead of diverting scarce resources to build projects that would ultimately not benefit the economy of the country as a collective.