President Muhammadu Buhari has been under fire since Wednesday, hours after he signed on his birthday the N10.59 trillion 2020 budget, as he offered too generous gift to the National Assembly: an N37 billion fat envelope to renovate the complex.
“It is my pleasant duty, today, on my 77th birthday, to sign the 2020 Appropriation Bill into law. I’m pleased that the National Assembly has expeditiously passed this Bill. Our Federal Budget is now restored to a January-December implementation cycle”, Buhari declared at the signing ceremony, surrounded by National Assembly leaders.
An investigation by TheNigeriaLawyer (TNL) shows that in 2013 the Federal Executive Council (FEC) under president Goodluck Jonathan approved N40.2 billion for the construction of phase III of the National Assembly complex and renovation of the first and second phases of the complex
According to the Daily Trust and Vanguard Newspaper Report of 12th December, 2013, the then Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Sen. Bala Muhammed (now Governor of Bauchi State), disclosed that:
“We are going to close down the two chambers of the National Assembly for a period of 12 months and we are lucky we have already provided large committee rooms that will be used during the period for the parliament to continue its work.
“The contract is for N40.2billion and it will take 40 months to complete.“
Muhammed stated that the work concerning phase III of the complex would involve the construction of a library, budget office, printing press, clinic, restaurants, banquet hall, places of worship and plenary hall (auditorium).
He explained that at the end of the project, television/radio/press facilities, fitness room, administrative offices, technical rooms, and meeting rooms would be available while two of the chambers would be renovated.
However, TheNigerialawyer is not sure if the federal government actually disbursed the said sum for the renovation of the complex, though TNL is making effort to get in touch with the budget office to ascertain If same was released for the renovation.