Wike suspends all events at International Conference Centre

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By Philip Yatai

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Nyesom Wike, has suspended all events at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

Wike announced the suspension after he inspected the centre in Abuja on Monday.

He explained that the suspension was to enable Julius Berger to carry out holistic rehabilitation of the centre.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the minister had terminated the contract of Messrs Integrated Facility Management Services Ltd, assigned to manage the centre.

Mr Anthony Ogunleye, Director of Press, Office of the Minister, who announced the development on April 4, added that Julius Berger had been contracted for the immediate renovation of the centre.

After going round the facility, the minister described it as a mere conference centre, “There is nothing international about the centre.

“When we came here for the ECOWAS inauguration sometime last week, with President Bola Tinubu, no right-thinking human being would see the state of this facility and be happy.

“In fact, during the inauguration, Tinubu drew my attention to the rot. Even the lighting system was so poor.

“This is unacceptable. There is no way we can accept this as an International Conference Centre.

“You cannot call it a conference centre but not international, because there is no standard compared to any international conference centre”.

He added that the FCT Administration would not continue to be embarrassed by the poor state of the centre.

“So, we are sorry to announce this; every booking made here is cancelled.

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“We will start immediate rehabilitation of the centre to meet up with international standards,” the minister said.

He said that Julius Berger had been given eight months to complete the total renovation of the centre.

The goal, according to him, is to transform the facility into a befitting International Conference Centre that Nigerians will be proud of.

He said that Julius Berger was called back to rehabilitate the centre because it was the company that built the edifice.

“We believed that in the next seven to eight months, the company would do something that Nigerians and the international community would appreciate,” he said.

On the management of the centre, if the rehabilitation was completed, Wike said that the Managing Director of Abuja Investment Company (AIC), Amb. Maureen Tamuno knows what to do.

“If she does not do it well, well, we will have no choice but to wade the big stick; but I believe she has the capacity to run it well,” the minister said.

He explained that he would not probe anybody on what led to the rot of the centre, but to move on, get the job done and give the country a befitting international conference centre.

NAN reports that Tamuno, an experienced public officer, entrepreneur, and diplomat was appointed as new head of AIC on April 4.

She was the Nigerian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Belize, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. (NAN)

Edited by Sadiya Hamza

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