Despite complaints of poor funding, the Senate, yesterday, insisted that the N30b National Assembly building renovation project be completed on schedule.
But the Site Engineer of the company handling the project, Tajudeen Olanipekun, demanded for more mobilisation funds in the presence of the Executive Secretary of Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Shehu Hadi Ahmad, during the projects’ on-the-spot assessment by Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT.)
The FCDA had in March 2022, due to serious dilapidation of National Assembly Complex, awarded contracts for rehabilitation of critical segments including the Hallowed Chambers of the Senate and the House of Representatives , the Dome in the White House as well as construction of office of National Assembly Service Commission ( NASC) and Library at the cost of N30b .
The projects, which were to be delivered in phases between January and August 2023, were given N9b mobilisation fee as disclosed by the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello in June this year, during the first on-the-spot assessment visit by the Senate Committee on FCT.
But at the second on-the-spot assessment visit carried out by Senator Smart Adeyemi-led committee yesterday, members of the committee were worried at the slow space of work.
Adeyemi said though the renovation works being carried out at both chambers were commendable, but the slow spate of work very worrisome.
He told the contractor that except for miracle, the January 2023 deadline for delivery of transformed Hallowed Chambers, was no longer feasible.
Adeyemi said: “This project must not be abandoned. The Hallowed Chambers are expected to be completed and delivered by the end of January 2023.
“But the level of work seen here today is not pointing at that, which to us, is a threat to our legislative duties and functions.
“Non-completion of this project at designated times, is even a threat to democracy itself, because we don’t want the incoming government to inherit it as an abandoned one.
“So, this committee wants to know challenges confronting the contractors as regards expeditious execution of the projects .”
In his response , the Site Engineer said fluctuations in the value of Naira to United States dollar had been problematic for them in importation of required materials and equipment, coupled with the need for more mobilisation funds from FCDA.
Adeyemi then urged the FCDA Executive Secretary to get in touch with the minister for more funds for the contractors.
Other lawmakers at the oversight visit , were Senators Lekan Mustapha, Danjuma Laah , Jibrin Isah, Michael Nnachi among others.