- The Nigerian Senate are not in agreement regarding the renovation of the National Assembly complex
- According to reports, a series of reactions from the lawmakers have trailed the N42bn renovation contract amongst other issues
- Recent is the questions being raised by some of the lawmakers regarding why the contract was awarded to a particular company whom they described unfit for the job
Abuja- There is a brewing tension regarding the move to renovate the National Assembly Complex with a whopping sum of N42 billion.
Leadership reports that the development is causing some stir among members of the National Assembly and stakeholders in the built sector, among others.
This is especially so considering that the project can be executed for N15 billion less after the original builders of the complex bid N26.9bn but was overlooked in favour of a firm with no traceable address and with record of having handled such a project.
Findings by the newspaper revealed that some lawmakers have expressed discontent over both the value of the contract and the capacity of the contracting firm, Messrs Visible Construction Limited, to handle the work.
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The budget for renovation
A budget of about N37 billion was approved for the renovation of the National Assembly complex but a loud outcry by Nigerians caused the project to be put on hold.
With the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020, the budget for the renovation project was further reduced to N9 billion without cash backing.
Senator Sani Musa's position
Speaking on the issue, the chairman, Senate Committee on Services, Senator Sani Musa said the lawmakers had been calling for the renovation of the National Assembly but that people who apparently had no idea of the decay in the complex opposed it.
Senator Ajibola Basiru's position
Also, the spokesman of the Senate, Ajibola Basiru, had said that contrary to the widespread falsehood being peddled both in the mainstream and online media as a fallout of the reported incident of the leaking roof of the National Assembly Complex after a heavy downpour on Tuesday, June 21, 2021, the National Assembly and its leadership were not responsible for the maintenance and renovation of the National Assembly Complex.
He added that they never received the sum of N37 billion or any amount for the renovation of the complex.
Senate's president position on the issue
Senate President Ahmad Lawan, while speaking on the issue, said the leakage of the complex was a vindication on their part.
Lawan had said:
“The fact that there was a leak, to me, is a clear testimony, confirmation and vindication of the position the National Assembly took initially."
Recent uproar by the Senators
However, the latest stir is not about the propriety or otherwise of the renovation, but about the amount earmarked for the renovation and the capacity of the firm mandated to handle the contract.
Some members of the National Assembly expressed misgivings about the capacity of the company to deliver quality jobs even as they insisted that the sum approved for the project is too high.
The sum of N42, 414,917,272 (N42.4 billion) approved for the project represents a N5 billion increase from the initial sum of N37 approved for the same project.
Those raising concern about the renovation said there was no justification whatsoever for the N5 billion increment.
In an interview with the newspaper, a high-ranking member of the National Assembly who pleaded anonymity, wondered why the contract was awarded to Messrs Visible Construction Limited.
“Why was ITB not selected, for instance, since the first phase of the complex was built by it? One is tempted to assume that the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) may have been put under pressure to select Messrs Visible Construction Limited.”
FEC members reaction
Meanwhile, it appears it is not only the lawmakers and some stakeholders in the built sector that have some misgivings about the cost of the renovation and the capacity of the firm, as sources said some members of the Federal Executive Council also raised questions when the FCT minister tabled the memo before them.
Firms that bid for the contract
A credible source listed firms that bid for the contract to include Rockbridge Construction Limited (N55.8 billion); ITB Nigeria Limited (N26.9 billion); Julius Berger (N101.1 billion); Gilmor Engineering Limited (N61.2 billion) and Visible Construction Limited (N45 billion).
A source conversant with the transaction revealed:
“Although Visible quoted N45 billion, the BPP cut it down to N42.4 after assessment."
But in his reaction on Monday, December 6, the special adviser on media and labour to the clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Austen Adesoro said Nigerians who know the state of the complex will want such renovation to be carried out.
Senate discloses reasons behind deplorable state of Army Barracks across Nigeria
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had earlier reported that as the country continues in its effort to end insecurity across regions of Nigeria, the Nigerian Senate on Monday, December 6, decried the deplorable state of Army barracks.
The Senate committee on Army said pockets of banditry attacks, kidnapping and destruction of property in communities across states of the country is responsible for the deplorable condition of Army barracks.
It was reported that the chairman of the committee, Senator Ali Ndume said this while addressing journalists after he visited some formations in Plateau state.