By Emmanuella Anokam
The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has expressed readiness to support partnership between Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and University of Abuja for the university’s permanent site development.
A statement by Mr Martins Odeh, the Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA on Wednesday said Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, NEPZA’s Managing Director revealed this during inauguration of the committee to midwife execution of the project in Abuja.
The ACCI and the management of the university led by its Vice Chancellor, Prof. AdulRasheed Na’Allah signed a Memorandum of Understanding to re-model the campus into a self-sustaining tourism, learning and business destinations.
The committee is to develop a plan for turning the university into a privately-driven tourism attraction. It is also to develop plan programme in mining and the development of the institution’s film village.
The terms of reference further mandated the committee to propose a second framework for research, intervention and collaboration with the Federal Capital Territory Administration on environmental management, tourism and railway engineering among others.
ACCI is expected to mobilise the private sector to provide the proposed infrastructure including world-class lecture theaters; hostels; film village; light-railway; manufacturing industries; hotels, hospitals, road networks, golf course/ sporting facilities among others.
The NEPZA boss, who is the chairman of the committee, said the proposed development layout would undoubtedly redirect the way and manner universities were managed in the country.
Adesugba, who is also the Second Deputy President of ACCI explained that the project when executed would change the landscape of the university.
He added that the ivory tower would become an industrial hub that maintained its serene ambiance for teaching, learning and research.
“We will also be using the Free Trade Zone approaches in order to attract both foreign and local direct investments into this proposed adorable and profitable ecosystem.
“It is an understatement to say that the university’s location remains strategic and attractive to investors. In fact, this site which harbours undulating rocks and three rivers provides the required serenity for tourism.
“Its proximity to the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport, and to the city center makes it a choice destination for tourists, foreign students and investors.
“For us in NEPZA, we will not shy away from supporting schemes that would positively impact on the country’s industrialisation process, creating employment and providing revenues for the government.
“It is in this light that we would work towards linking the airport and its environs now earmarked as free trade zone with the university to give Nigeria a world-class free zone that would boost economic activities.”
Na’Allah, while inaugurating the committee explained that the concerted efforts was an attempt at repositioning the university community to perform its role as the emancipator of the country’s development process.
The V-C said the era of waiting for the government to fund the university was gradually coming to an end, adding that it had discovered a point of equilibrium where education and commerce met for mutual benefit.
He noted that the university was on the verge of introducing Railway Engineering and Geology into its numerous courses.
According to him, the impact of these two disciplines would be practically felt as the proposed landscape would provide light-train services and mining of solid minerals for commercial purposes. (NAN)