Millions of unemployed youths have threatened to embark on hunger strike and mass protest if the federal government fails to revoke the export processing zone status granted to the Abuja Centenary City project.
In a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, the youths lamented that the licensing of the Abuja Centenary City project as a free trade zone was a scam sponsored by a few individuals which will deny three million of the youths employment opportunities as the owners of the project will be exempted from “all federal, state and local government taxes, levies and rates.”
The petition which was signed by the National Coordinator of the Unemployed Youth Vanguard, Solomon Adodo and the National Secretary, Suleiman Musa, said the huge amount the government would have generated from the Centenary City to create employment opportunities for the youths will end up in the private pocket of the owners of the project.
They declared that the export free zone status granted the Centenary city was in breach of Nigeria Export Processing Zone, NEPAZ, Act, first Schedule, Section 3(5) Subsection 4.1 as the fixing of the seal of the authority was not authenticated by Chairman or any other member of the NEPZA Board as required by law.
They alleged that the Managing Director of NEPZA, Mr. Gbenga Kuye, collaborated with some former high ranking government officials to circumvent the law and license the Centenary City as an export processing zone.
“Mr. President, by illegally licensing the Centenary City a free trade zone, the promoters are desirous of taking advantage of Section 5 (of the NEPZA Act).
“Mr. President, the implication of this is that, for every one job
created we the youths of Nigeria will lose one thousand jobs.
The contractors in the free trade zone are taking advantage of the above to import into the country equipment, cement and labour. Mr. President, are you telling Nigerians that you are going to allow this?”
While stressing that the Abuja master plan does not allow for a free trade zone, they declared that the “Centenary City is a bathwater that has no baby within and it should be completely discarded and thrown away.”
The unemployed youths demanded that Managing Director of NEPZA, Mr. Kuye be investigated for criminal breach of trust for issuing free trade zone license without recourse to the NEPZA Board.
They also demanded that President Buhari withdraw the certificate of occupancy of the Centenary City as it was “obtained under false pretenses”; as well as investigate the claim that the Centenary has attracted $18 billion dollars foreign direct investment as claimed by the promoters of the project and locate the certificate of occupancy of the Centenary City as it is supposed to be in possession of the federal government due to its free trade zone status, among others.

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