In defence of the proposed N37 billion allocation to renovate the National Assembly complex, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, has 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,” Mr Lawan said.
“When we are through with phase 1, we will go to phase 2. It is not under the control of the National Assembly. The complex is a national asset and is for the FCDA to take care.”
Reports by PREMIUM TIMES revealed that while 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, PREMIUM TIMES found 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.
Aside a sum of ₦250 million paid to DCN Nigeria Ltd for “general renovation of the main building”, this newspaper also found that the National Assembly spent ₦578 million on the refurbishing of meetings and committee rooms, PREMIUM TIMES investigation revealed.
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.
Did Senate President lie?