Senate not responsible for leaking National Assembly complex
Senator Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru, the Nigerian Senate’s spokesperson, has stated that the national assembly is not responsible for the refurbishment of the national assembly premises.
Basiru also stated in a press statement posted on Tuesday that no funds had been provided for renovation purposes. “Contrary to the widespread falsehood being peddled both in the mainstream and online media as a result of the reported incident of the National Assembly Complex’s leaking roof after a heavy downpour on Tuesday, June 21, 2021, it is pertinent to inform the General Public that the National Assembly and its leadership are not responsible for the maintenance and renovation of the National Assembly Complex,” the statement read.
After heavy rains, video images of a flooded national assembly facility were all over the news. During Tuesday’s downpour, the roof of the White House, which houses the two chambers of the National Assembly, began to leak, causing flooding in the foyer.
“The leaking at the National Assembly’s foyer yesterday confirms the National Assembly’s and the FCDA’s fears, and emphasizes the necessity for an immediate intervention in redesigning the complex’s outdated structures before they fall further into disrepair, with the ensuing high cost of replacement.”
“While it is true that an initial appropriation of the above stated sum was made due to the deteriorating nature of the National Assembly Complex, which has not seen any major maintenance or overhauling since construction, the said amount was reduced to 9 billion Naira following the outbreak of COVID-19. Despite this reduction, the sum of $9 billion, or any amount, has yet to be backed up with cash or delivered to the National Assembly. None of this money is set aside for the National Assembly’s administration or leadership.”
“It is important to emphasize that the National Assembly Complex is a National Monument under the supervision of the Federal Capital Development Agency. In essence, the FCDA is responsible for its upkeep and reconstruction, not the National Assembly Leadership, as has been wrongly suggested.”
Meanwhile, Senate President Ahmad Lawan has urged Nigerians to refrain from criticizing the National Assembly’s management for the building’s leaky roof.
Senator Sabi Abdullahi, the Senate’s Deputy Whip, raised a point of order in response to media reporting about the incident, claiming that the reports violated the parliamentarians’ privilege.
He stressed that the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), not the parliamentarians, was in charge of the complex’s maintenance, contrary to popular notion.
The N37 billion allocated for the renovation of the National Assembly complex in the 2020 budget was reduced to N9 billion in the revised budget, according to Abdullahi.
He stated that nothing had been done up to this point.
The Senate President stated that the roof leak validated the lawmakers’ belief that the building needed to be renovated.
“The fact that there was a leak to me is a clear witness, validation, and justification of the earlier position taken by the national assembly,” Lawan said.
Everyone recognizes that this location is in desperate need of repair. We proceeded to see Mr. President, who was cordial and invited us to meet with FCTA, the building’s owners. “Myself, the speaker, the late chief of staff, and the minister of finance convened to hunt for funding for the national assembly’s reconstruction. It was an FCDA budget, not a National Assembly budget, that was authorized when the N37 billion was approved.
“We are not treating our democracy with the respect it deserves if this place leaks. We expect the media to inform the public in a responsible manner. This is the residence of Nigerians. It is Nigerian property and deserves to be rehabilitated.”