The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reportedly arrested the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Pius Anyim, on allegations of fraud over the $18bn Abuja Centenary City project.
The project was intended to mark 100 years of Nigeria’s amalgamation in January 2014 under the administration of then President Goodluck Jonathan. The city was to be built from scratch on a 1,260 hectares piece of virgin land located several kilometres southeast of Abuja, the country’s capital.
It appears that a lot of public money was sunk into what was meant to be a private-sector driven project to build a “smart city”, modelled on Dubai, Monaco and Singapore.
Anyim, also a former Senate President, allegedly put his considerable weight behind the project and is now reportedly being interrogated by the anti-corruption agency.
Earlier this week he was among the VIPs from Ebonyi State that rolled out the red carpet for President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Abakaliki, the state capital. The obsequious behaviour of many of the locals, which included handing out a couple of traditional titles to the president – “Ochioha” (“Leader of the people”) and “Enyioma” (“Good Friend”) – was roundly condemned by some Igbos on social media.
It appears that falling over each other to treat Buhari as a “good friend” has done little to get Anyim off the hook.