Amidst mounting criticisms over the N37bn earmarked for the renovation of the Phase one section of the National Assembly, the Senate said, yesterday, that no Senator would derive personal gain from the project.
It explained that the money would not be spent by the National Assembly, as it is the executive arm of government that has been in charge of maintaining the structures in the complex that would oversee spending of the N37bn.
Spokesman of the Senate, Akwashiki Godiya, said although lawmakers use the facilities in the National Assembly, they don’t handle money for the maintenance.
“The statutory duty of the Senate and the House of Representatives, as far as this issue is concerned, is the appropriation of the money. And before the figure was arrived at, the appropriate agency of government, which is the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) had properly defended it. “
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, explained last Monday, that the N37bn maintenance budget was right, as the Phase one of the Assembly complex, popularly called the White House in which the two chambers are situated, was overdue for renovation.
He recalled that the building was erected in 1998 and since then, no renovation work had taken place.
He said: “We met the President about the condition of the complex. And he responded by saying he would renovate it. N37bn was sourced and was given. It was put under the FCT, not the National Assembly. All we required is to have the complex renovated. When we are through with Phase one, we will proceed to Phase two…”
The renovation comes at a time Nigerians are accusing members of the National Assembly of inflating the 2020 budget figures before passage.
Many expressed dismay that the renovation work was given higher amount than some critical sectors demanding urgent attention.