Wike Orders Decrepit International Conference Centre Closed for Renovation

Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, has ordered the closure of international Conference Centre, Abuja for eight months to enable renovation work to be carried out on the facility.

He gave the directive yesterday after inspecting the facility that was constructed by Julius Berger in 1991.

The minister declared that all events and activities booked for the venue had been cancelled forthwith.

He raged at the terrible state of the facility and wondered why the contract for the maintenance of such an edifice meant for international events would be handed over to an incompetent firm.

He lamented that on several occasions, the nation had been subjected to many avoidable embarrassments before the international community in form of power outages, poor cooling system and facility decay.

“We have gone round, you and I know that it is unacceptable. No way we can accept this as an international conference centre. You can call this a conference centre, but not international.

“We cannot continue to be embarrassed in this way. So, we are sorry to announce this, every booking meant to be used here is cancelled. Because we will start immediate rehabilitation of this centre, to meet up with international standard.

 “We have called the original contractor that built this edifice, that is Julius Berger, to come back, because if we had brought a new contractor, it would take us time. We believe that in the next seven to eight months, we will be able to do something that people will appreciate.

“And then that means the FCDA will now take over the rehabilitation with Julius Berger, and then hand over to Abuja Investment Company,” Wike said.

He, however, said he would probe the previous contractor on their handling of the facility and warned that he would wield the big stick on the new Managing Director of Abuja Investment Company Limited (AICL), Ambassador (Dr) Maureen Tamuno, if she failed to meet up with what was required of her job.

“I’m not here to probe anybody, I don’t want to begin to find excuses why the jobs are not doing well. The Managing Director of Abuja Investment Company knows what to do, mine is to give the country a befitting International Conference Centre.

‘And if she does not do it well, we have no choice but to wield the big stick, but I believe she has the capacity to run it well,” he said.

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