Why We’re Developing Asaba Waterfront, Delta SSG Explains

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By Sam Akanimo

The Oborevwori administration in Delta State has explained why it is moving to develop the Asaba Waterfront in the state capital. It says it is geared towards effective urban renewal and boosting the tourism potentials of the state.

Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Kingsley Emu, made this public after a meeting with representatives of the host communities of the Asaba Waterfront Development project and the project consultants.

Emu said the Asaba Waterfront City project, which was initiated three years ago and located along the banks of the River Niger, was designed to be Africa’s newest upscale, smart and tech-driven city.

He said the project is a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) venture, between the state government, which owns 15 per cent, Asaba communities have five per cent and private investors, who hold 80 per cent, adding that the project is to be financed through a combination of equity and debt capital, in addition to pre-sales financing.

“About three years ago, we started this journey of the Asaba Waterfront Development Project. We acquired about 1,000 hectares of land and they were broken up into two: one was given to North China and another section was given to Falkland.

“The whole idea is a PPP. For me, the people wanted to, on their own, start giving out the land and they started going into private arrangements and agreements with some developers.

“We figured out that it was going to cause a lot of urban slums and create a lot of security issues for us, especially during the allocation. So, we sat down and decided that we should acquire that entire 1,000 hectares of land.

“In compliance with the Land Use Act, we allowed everybody who had interest in that area, published in critical newspapers, to come over and express their interest through a memorandum.

“We got a lot from different people and we sat back and identified all the communities involved. We moved in to call in consultants to come and look at the entire area and scoop for compensation, and ensure that all the parties involved, remotely or otherwise, must be captured.

“The compensation sum was determined. Shortly before then was election and that was halted for this. But before then, in our process of engagement, we told the communities that there are three parties to the business.

“First is the developers who are very formidable and have a pedigree. They are to have 80 per cent of the entire investment. Government was to have 15 per cent and the community was to have 5 per cent.

“Here is the logic; it is a modern city and part of our urban renewal plan. So, what we needed to do in that area is to sand fill; take out all the rubbish, and fill them, allow them to settle and build a world- class infrastructure”, he said.

According to Emu, the Oborevwori administration was making lots of sacrifices to ensure the project came on stream to ensure real urban renewal in the area.

“For the government, 15 per cent sounds big but absolutely nothing to what the government should ordinarily get. In the first instance, the government should earn C of O fees, and future ground rent from all that.

“The C of O in that area should cost about N5 billion and the government has forfeited that. More so, the government has gone ahead to start payment of compensation.

“The government is also constructing a six-lane road to separate the North China and Falkland end and take it straight to the shore; that would create the ambience and convey the seriousness that the government truly wants to have an urban renewal. And that will cost us approximately N5 billion. In all of these, the government is spending money.

“So, we do know that if we had allowed the old game that the locals wanted to play out, it would cost us more than N10 billion to manage security challenges. But today, with these urban renewal arrangements and with all the parties involved agreeing to work together, we have in our hands, a new city.

“If we have 1,000 hectares in that corridor, it is going to be a tourist attraction and bring in a lot of revenue to all the parties. And the government does not have any hand in managing that asset. People who have that responsibility are the private sector.

“So, they are going to create infrastructure that will inter-link the entire 1,000 hectares and that will be the beginning of major urban renewal development in Asaba.

“We are happy and it is part of the continuity arrangements of Governor Sheriff Oborevwori; to continue to do valuable things that he met on ground and this is one. The Asaba people would be eternally grateful for this major intervention.

“And with the dredging of the River Niger, which is just along the shore line, it would be a massive tourist attraction. So, that is the short story about Asaba Waterfront City”, the SSG added.


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