…As he lays Foundation for Zuma Smart City
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State has called on the Federal Government to protect national heritage sites that are being destroyed by foreign companies.
Governor Sani Bello made the call while performing the groundbreaking ceremony of the Zuma Smart City and Resort in Chachi, behind Zuma Rock, Tafa Local Government Area.
He said national historic sites in the country such as the Zuma Rock and Aso rock which the Federal Government has included in the National Heritage Sites, need to be protected by the government.
“I would like to use this opportunity to appeal to the Federal Government to look into the activities of the multinational companies that mutilate our environmental national endowment with impunity”, he added.
The Governor who decried the mining activities of Chinese companies in the state in particular and the country in general on monuments, appealed to the Federal Government to step in with the view to stopping them.
According to him, “I doubt if any foreign company can go to China and destroy any monument there, I am surprised and disappointed that it took so long a time to take them off this site”, he said.
He disclosed that the state executive council made a deliberate effort to protect Zuma Rock and its environs by making it a “Zuma Rock Investment and Cultural City”, to attract investors and preserve it
The Governor noted that if the Chinese company had been left unchecked, the aesthetic nature of the Zuma Rock and its environs would have been destroyed completely.
“If the mining activity had continued the integrity of the rock would have been threatened, so I believe Zuma Rock is safe and with a resort here, eventually this place will become a smart city, it will become a recreational place and the people will enjoy the beauty of the rock”, he said.
According to him, collective efforts amongst all tiers of government and the collaboration of the traditional rulers and community chiefs were needed to protect citizens from being exploited.
The Governor commended Aso Savings and Loans for indicating interest in the project, and expressed confidence that the project will come to fruition in no distant time.
Niger State Governor-elect Umar Mohammed Bago on his part said that the state must benefit from its closeness to the Federal Capital and haven donated over 70 per cent of its land to what constitutes Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Bago commended Governor Sani Bello for the initiative, saying that the state will continue to develop its tourist potentials for economic benefits.
Hajiya Risikatu Ahmed, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ASO Savings and Loans explained that they aim to develop a smart and sustainable city comprising over 2,500 units of mixed types of houses on 150 hectares of land.
Risikatu said 708 units will be constructed in the first phase consisting of 228 units of one-bedroom semi-detached bungalows, 378 units of two-bedroom semi-detached bungalows and 238 units of three-bedroom semi-detached bungalows.
The MD/CEO added that the smart city will also enjoy facilities such as schools, fire stations, police station, well-paved roads, green areas, walkways, renewable energy sources and all amenities required for a sustainable and smart city.
She said funds for the project was already available and that in no distant time work will commence saying that the houses to be developed will be affordable.
The MD/CEO expressed her gratitude to the Governor for the partnership and the unflinching support to the project.
The Commissioners for Lands and Housing Danladi Mahmud Liman, that of Information and Strategy, Emmanuel Musa Umar who represented the Chachi Community commended the initiative and pledged their full support the success of the project.
The Zuma Smart City is an initiative of the Niger State Government in collaboration with Aso Savings and Loans to provide a modern housing smart city and a recreational centre to Nigerlites and other Nigerians.