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N37bn NASS renovation budget: We are vindicated — Lawan

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said that the reported roof leakage at the National Assembly has vindicated its request for the approval of N37 billion for the renovation of the assembly complex.

Lawan stated this in his remarks on two Points of Order raised by Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi, during plenary on Wednesday.

Sabi had raised Points of Order 14 and 15 of the Senate Standing Rule in reaction to a report credited to a news medium on “roof leakage of the National Assembly complex”.

In his remarks, Lawan said “the fact that there was a leakage, to me it is a clear testimony, confirmation and vindication of the position the National Assembly took initially.

“By the time we came into office and our endorsement, the Speaker and I found it necessary to go round this Senate and we found out dilapidation and degradation.

“In fact, anyone who sees what we have here knows that this place is overdue for rehabilitation. It is even worse downstairs.

“So, we complained to the President that there is the need to rehabilitate and renovate the National Assembly complex after in use for about 20 years and not rehabilitated at all.

“The President was gracious and he asked us to come back, engage the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) who are the owners of this building and the technical side of the National Assembly and some contractors to come up with what we need to rehabilitate here and the cost.

“In fact, I fought against the initial submissions because I was to take the document directly to the President.

“When I saw what they were bringing, I say there was no way I could take that to Mr President, go and rework until they came up with N37 billion and I took that to the President.

“For emphasis, when we approved the budget of N37 billion for the rehabilitation of this complex, it was not a National Assembly budget, it was an FCDA budget, we have nothing to do with this,’’ Lawan said.

The Senate President, however, called on citizens to support the institution of the parliament for good governance to thrive.

“The institution of the parliament must be supported by citizens and we expect the press to take a lead in informing the public properly and appropriately. I advise the press to help us develop this democracy”.

Earlier, Sabi said: “In that report, three things were reported which were very inaccurate that there was heavy downpour or leakage even in the chamber.

“That was not correct. There was leakage of course around the premises, outside the chamber and also it was reported that because of that leakage, it delayed our sitting, which also is not correct”.

“At the end of the day, when the sum of N37 billion was made as provision in the 2020 budget, the media went to town castigating and calling the members of the National Assembly all kinds of names.

“At the end of the day, like we all knew, the pandemic came and at the end, that amount was reduced to about N9 million so that they can take the application in pieces.

“As we speak, nothing is being done until yesterday (Tuesday), the leakage across the complex.

“This is a vindication of what the leadership and indeed the Senate and members of the House of Representatives saw with respect to this edifice which is a national monument’’.

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