Governor Abubakar Sani Bello calls for FGs protection of National Heritage sites ...As he lays the 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 stated this while performing the groundbreaking ceremony of the Zuma Smart City and Resort in Chachi, behind Zuma Rock, Tafa Local Government Area of Niger State. The Zuma Smart City is an initiative of the Niger State Government in collaboration with Aso Savings and Loans to provide housing and recreational centre for Nigerlites and other Nigerians. He said that national historic sites in the country need to be protected by the government as they are national assets. The governor said that tourist sites such as Zuma Rock are being threatened by foreign companies and have to be stopped. "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 to take them off this site", he said. He lamented over the activities of a Chinese company, which he said, if they have been left unchecked, would destroy the aesthetic nature of the Zuma Rock environment where the Zuma Smart City is to be constructed. "If the mining activity had continued the integrity of the rock would have been threatened, so I believe Zuma Rock is safe and with this project here the resort 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, the Federal Government added Zuma Rock Aso as a National Heritage Site; therefore they should protect the sites for them to ensure the actualization of their pronouncement. "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 endowments with impunity", he added. He said that the state executive council in a deliberate effort to protect the Zuma Rock area has made the place "Zuma Rock Investment and Cultural City" to attract investors and preserve it. According to him, collective effort 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 keying into the project and was confident that the project will come to fruition in the next few years. He added that the aim of such policy was to attract investment into all facets of the state Niger State Governor-elect Umar Mohammed Bago said that the state must benefit from its closeness to the Federal Capital having donated over 70 percent of its land to what constitutes Abuja today. Hon Bago commended Governor Sani Bello for the initiative, saying that the state will develop its tourist potentials for economic benefits. Mrs Risikatu Ahmed, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ASO Savings and Loans said that they aim at developing a smart and sustainable city comprising over 2,500 units of mixed houses types. Risikatu said that 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 a school, fire station, police station, well-paved roads, green areas, walkways, renewable energy sources, and all amenities required for a sustainable smart city. She gave assurance that everything has been concluded and that in no distance time work will soon commence and that the house to be developed will be affordable and that civil servants too are well captured. She expressed her gratitude to the governor for accepting them for the project and that it has been fully funded. Other speakers at the event included the Commissioner of Land and Housing, Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Emmanuel Musa Umar, and members of Chachi Community who pledged to give full support to the project.