A sum of N37 billion has been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for the renovation of the National Assembly complex which is slated to begin early next year.
The N37 billion renovation money is part of the N2.5trillion capital project provision which is to be carried out by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).
Defending the huge sum while speaking with journalists in Abuja on Monday, December 16, 2019, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, said some facilities in the National Assembly were old and dilapidated because the complex hasn’t undergone any major renovation in the past 20 years.
“When we came in, we noticed that many parts of the National Assembly Complex were dilapidated. And we convened a meeting of the management of the National Assembly, the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA); then, it was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“The (House of Representatives) Speaker and I had a very exhaustive engagement with them. We met Mr. President. The Speaker and I told him the condition of the National Assembly complex. Since the takeover of that complex, there was never any major rehabilitation or renovation 20 years ago.
“Mr. President responded by telling us that he was going to renovate the National Assembly complex and we went back and continued to engage with the management of the National Assembly, the FCDA, to make sure of what is required for Phase I renovation. That is where we are sitting: the domes of the House and the Senate, and our committee rooms in the White House.
“The sum of N37 billion was sourced and it was put under the FCDA, not the National Assembly.
“All we require is to have the National Assembly complex renovated, including the reconfiguration of the two chambers and, of course, including the Press Centre.
“We have the opportunity in 20 years to embark on the renovation of the Phase I building of the National Assembly. When we are through with Phase I, then we will go to Phase II. The complex is not under the control of the National Assembly. It is a national asset for the FCDA to take care of.”
The National Assembly Director of Information, Dr. Rawlings Agada, hinted that N37 billion might not even be enough for the required renovation. He said:
“The National Assembly needs a lot of work. I don’t think even that amount of money can take care of all those things because even the dome has been leaking and there is fear that if the repairs are not done, we might suffer greater problem in the future.
“I think the leadership of the National Assembly took note of that pursuant to the concerns raised by the management.
“That is just that because I don’t have the details of the budget but I am aware that there is a lot that needs to be done.”