NASS: 10yrs after, multi-billion naira presiding officers’ residences uncompleted
…Budget for project stopped in 2017 – FCDA
Prior to 2009, a former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, then, gave leave to principal officers of NASS: President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Deputy President of the Senate and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, to buy their official residences at the Apo Legislative Quarters; which they did.
The action received public condemnation, considering the burden taxpayers had to bear in replacing the property for subsequent principal officers of NASS.
Those who benefited from the sale were a former President of the Senate, David Mark, an ex-Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, a former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, and a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Usman Nafada.
In the 2011 budget, N1.5bn was proposed to build new official residences for NASS leaders at Maitama Extension, behind Lungi Military Barracks, with a contract awarded to Julius Berger at the cost of N3bn, but the Seventh Assembly refused to accept the project; its rejection was reportedly due to lack of some basic infrastructure and other issues.
The N3bn project was continued during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration when Sen. Bala Mohammed was the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
However, the Maitama Extension project was discontinued and another started within the National Assembly Complex, still by Julius Berger.
The construction of the residences within the NASS Complex is ongoing a few metres from the main entrance to the complex. It was initially billed for completion and to be occupied by the presiding officers of the Seventh Assembly.
The presiding officers of the Seventh Assembly were President of the Senate, David Mark; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal; Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu; and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha.
It was, however, realised that with the slow pace of the work, the officers would not move into the residences before the tenure of the Seventh Assembly elapsed in June, 2015.
The then FCT Minister, Sen. Bala Mohammed, hinted that the new quarters being built by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) would be ready for occupation after the inauguration of the Eighth Assembly.
However, despite the promise, the residences could not be completed after the inauguration of the Eighth Assembly presided over by the then Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, his Deputy, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun.
With the pace of work at the site, the leadership of the Ninth Assembly, led by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, and Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, may not occupy the residences any time soon.
For many years now, the presiding officers of NASS have been living in personal residences with rents being taken care of by NASS.
When contacted, the Director, Public Buildings of the Federal Capital Development Administration (FCDA), Mr. Adebowale Olugbadebo, confirmed that the pace of work on the buildings had to drop because of funding, and added that there had been no budget for the project since 2017.
Mr. Olugbadebo further said, “If the National Assembly makes an appropriation for that, then the contractors will continue their work, but for now, no budget on that matter.”