By Ali Abare
Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of N30bn Nasarawa Technology Village, through a public, private partnership (PPP).
Engineer Sule performed the groundbreaking at an elaborate ceremony at the site of the project, in Aso Pada, of Karu Local Government Area, on Thursday.
The governor pointed out that the event, is a manifestation of the development roadmap of his administration, as encapsulated in the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS), with the state government committed to attracting private investors to develop every sector of the economy of the state.
Engineer Sule said he was particularly excited about the technology village project because it further demonstrate the thrust of the administration to provide capable young men from the state to develop their potentials.
He specifically commended the Managing Director of ABS Blueprint Limited, Mohammed Yamusa, an indigene of Azara, Managing Director Nasarawa Investment Development Agency (NASIDA), Barrister Ibrahim Abdullahi, for having the vision and skills, to attract the consortium that will execute the project.
“The dream is to come here and by the time we complete this project, in the next 3 to 5 years, we will be able to develop potential billionaires,” he said.
The governor restated that he didn’t venture into politics in order to make money but to leave behind a legacy and the groom another set up people to takeover and perform even better than him.
He however noted that, it’s not sufficient to have a vision but that efforts must be sustained towards bringing the project to reality.
Engineer Sule recalled that during the signing of the MoU with ABS last year, he challenged the company on making sure the project comes to fruition.
According to him, his immediate past predecessor, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-makura, has set a precedence through the Seeing is Believing mantra, such that if the people did not see the project, they don’t believe.
The governor explained that funds to execute projects have always been the problem but that drawing from what is happening globally, the state will not use its resources to execute the Nasarawa Technology Village but will rely on funding by investors.
He promised to strictly monitor the project through its stages of development.
Minister for State, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi, commended the Nasarawa State Government, for initiating a project that will be technologically driven, in line with the policy of the Federal Government towards making Nigeria a global competitor in technology.
While assuring the state government of support from the ministry, the minister said President Muhammadu Buhari approved N150bn in the 2022 Budget for the ministry, which the state can leverage and to tap from the available resources.
On his part, Managing Director, Taj Bank, Hamid Joda, commended Engineer Sule for having the vision to envisioned a project like the Nasarawa Technology Village, especially in the Abuja/Karu corridor.
Joda described the Abuja/Karu corridor as the biggest in Nigeria, with so much potentials, with millions of Nigerians living in Nasarawa State.
“We need to take advantage of the Abuja environment to develop this corridor. The time has come for us to begin to look at this corridor and we can develop it,” he said.
He however noted that, it’s one thing to have a vision and another to execute the vision.
Joda said his bank is on ground to provide or give suggestions regarding how capital can be raised to finance the projects, citing the Federal Government’s Sukuk, as ideal for implementation in Nasarawa State.
He therefore called on the governor to give the private sector, especially the non interest banking industry the opportunity to showcase what can be done to harness the opportunity of Sukuk.
Also, Managing Director, ABS Blueprint Limited, Mohammed Yamusa, explained that the Nasarawa Technology Village, is an innovative housing estate, with 1000 housing units comprising of blocks of 1&2 bedroom flats, 2 bedroom bungalows and 3 bedroom detached houses.
The hub will also have a commercial centre, nursery/primary school, hospital, fire and police station.
The NTV will equally have training facilities, offices to house local and international IT companies hostel, for the resident programme by Decagon Learning Institute, to train up to 2000 students yearly as software engineers.
Another feature of the NTV will be a private power plant to supply uninterrupted power supply. He however noted that there is need to build an alternative route to link Aso Pada closer with the FCT.
In separate remarks, MD NASIDA, Barrister Ibrahim Abdullahi and MD Nasarawa Geographic Information Service (NAGIS), Mr. Sonny Agassi, commended Engineer Sule for turning the state a top investment destination. Mr. Agassi particularly commended the governor for leveraging on his private sector experience to execute a PPP for the sake of the state. “Aso Pada was first concieved in 2000,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the people of the community, the Etsu Karu, HRH Pharmacist Luka Panya Baba, thanked the governor for his vision and passion to bring development to the state, assuring that the community are committed to support the completion of the project.