The burgeoning profligacy of the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration was further underlined in Abuja today as the government announced it has given approval for the construction of a new modern city within Abuja for the country to celebrate its centennial.
The approval was given by the Federal Executive Council at its weekly meeting, which was presided over by President Jonathan. Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting which lasted about eight hours, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said the new city is an entirely private sector driven.
“The new city that has been proposed as part of our centenary celebration is entirely private sector driven, no kobo from government. Let that be very, very clear. This is absolutely private sector driven with private sector investment.”
He said that the government’s only contribution will be to provide land through the FCT and agree on a proper design, following which it will be completely taken over by the private sector.
“The only few government facility that will be there will be an archaic for celebrations,” Maku added, pointing out that the new city might take up to 10 to 15 years to develop.
The city of Abuja, which has been in use for less than 30 years, has attracted a bad reputation as one of the world’s most expensive cities, with current and former top government officials relentlessly and greedily pillaging whatever they wish, no matter its price tag.
As a geo-political entity, Nigeria came into existence in 1914 following the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates by the British, represented by the then Governor-General of the country, Lord Frederick Lugard.
Still speaking to the correspondents, Mr. Maku blamed the media for Nigeria’s poor image as a corrupt country. Commenting on a new report by Transparency International in which Nigeria is ranked 37th on the global corruption index, Mr. Maku urged the media and the people of the country to help the government to present a better image of the nation to the world.
The Minister did not say when government officials would lead by example or when his government will start combating corruption.
Responding a few months ago to the national clamor for him to declare his assets, President Jonathan answered that he does not give a damn and will never publicly declare his assets