Federal Lawmakers Kick Against Use Of N37 Billion For Renovation Of NASS...

Federal Lawmakers Kick Against Use Of N37 Billion For Renovation Of NASS Building

By Wires Editor | The Trent on December 31, 2019
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Bukola Saraki, Yakubu Dogara, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, Zainab Ahmed, Musa Bature
A file photo of the National Assembly Complex in Abuja

Bamidele Salam, a member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, has on Sunday, December 29, 2019, disagreed with his colleagues and has revealed his plans to kick against the plan to use 37 billion naira to renovate the National Assembly complex.

Salam who represents Ede North/Ede South/Egbedore/Ejigbo Federal Constituency of Osun State pointed out that our classrooms, hospitals and roads need that sum for renovation more than the NASS edifice.

Bamidele Salam
Bamidele Salam

Taking to Twitter, the former journalist and PDP Reps member wrote:

“I am a member of the National Assembly but I sincerely do not think we need a 37 billion Naira renovation of that edifice. Apart from the Chambers of the NASS which need some upgrade in the audio and recording system, the entire structure needs no renovation more than our classrooms, hospitals and roads which are mostly in a decrepit condition.

He also said he will advocate this on the floor of the House of Representatives when the House reconvenes in January.

“If we mop up all funds voted for renovations of the Presidential villa and other offices of political leaders and top civil servants, we will raise more than a quarter of a trillion Naira that can be injected into SMES in the coming year.

“I will, by God’s grace, be making this open advocacy on the floor of the House of Representatives when the House reconvenes in January. It is never too late to change a wrong policy,” Salam emphasised.

Recall that in the 2020 budget signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, the renovation of the National Assembly complex is set to gulp ₦37 billion.

The allocation was first mentioned by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, who said Buhari approved the amount after lawmakers met with him to explain the poor condition of the legislative building in Abuja.

While defending the bogus allocation, the Senate President, Lawan told journalists that no major renovation had been done on the National Assembly property for 20 years and many parts of the property had become dilapidated.

“The phase one renovation will commence – the chambers and committee rooms in the white house. ₦37 billion was sourced and was given. It was put under the FCT, not national Assembly. All we require is to have the complex renovated,” Lawan said.

Meanwhile we gathered that although monies may not have been assigned specifically for the “renovation” of the building, the National Assembly has received multiple funding for improved infrastructure and equipment since 1999.

In 2013, the Federal Executive Council approved a contract of ₦40.2 billion for the “construction of Phase III, Part III of the National Assembly complex and the upgrading of the assembly’s two chambers.”

Additionally, in the proposed 2017 National Assembly budget, ₦1.25 billion was budgeted for the purchase of security equipment by the Senate. Apart from this, ₦440 million was allocated for the same purpose under capital expenditure for the National Assembly office.

Also, at the peak of the scandal between the eighth Assembly and erstwhile finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, it was also discovered that ₦454 million was spent on office equipment, and another ₦109 million was paid to Navadee Integrated Nigeria Ltd for “ICT supply of equipment” at NASS.

Furthermore, apart from the sum of ₦250 million paid to DCN Nigeria Ltd for “general renovation of the main building”, we also found out that the National Assembly spent ₦578 million on the refurbishing of meetings and committee rooms.

In like manner, the House of Representatives paid H and H Inter-Biz Services ₦50 million for the renovation of its committee rooms. This is notwithstanding another “painting of committee rooms” project worth ₦46 million and awarded to Jagsul Nigeria Ltd.

The lower chamber also awarded ₦39 million for the replacement of public address system in its committee rooms to Dee Ex Associate Ltd.

Read more at The Guardian

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