Nigeria lawmakers kick against N37 billion for renovation, say budget not discussed in House

At least two other House of Representatives members have spoken against plans to spend N37 billion for the renovation of the National Assembly complex.

Akin Alabi from Egbeda/Ona Area Federal Constituency, Oyo State and Legor Idagbo from Bekwarra, Obanliku and Obudu Federal Constituency, Cross Rivers State, said spending such amount on the renovation is in not in the best interest of the country.

Alabi, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, in a tweet said there was “no reason” the National Assembly should spend such to renovate the complex.

“Yes, we need upgrade on some aspects like the electronic systems (sound system, voting system etc) as they are outdated but N37b? No. Let’s spend that on our schools and hospitals,” Alabi tweeted.

Alabi revealed that the budget was not debated nor discussed at the National Assembly.

“It was not discussed on the floor of the house. Renovation of National Assembly is not debated on the floor of the house,” he said while answering queries from one his followers on why he had not stood against while the budget was presented in the House.

Also, Idagbo, a member of Peoples Democratic Party, said the lawmakers complex does not “needs [sic] any renovation that would cost the country N37bn.”

“We need more upgraded classrooms and hospitals to cater for the Nigerian people,” Idagbo also opined.

Their disavowal of the budget for the complex renovation came a few hours after the another House of Representatives member Bamidele Salam, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party representing Ede North/Ede South/Egbedore/Ejigbo Federal Constituency, said the National Assembly does “not need a 37 billion Naira renovation of that edifice.”

“Apart from the Chambers of the NASS which need some upgrade in the audio and recording system, the entire structure needs no renovation more than our classrooms, hospitals and roads which are mostly in a decrepit condition,” Salam said in a Facebook post on Sunday.

Salam said he will put opinion forward on the floor of the House of Representatives when the House reconvenes in January.

President Muhammadu Buhari approved ₦37 billion for the renovation of the National Assembly complex. The allocation was first mentioned by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, who said Buhari approved the amount after lawmakers met with him to explain the poor condition of the legislative building in Abuja.

The budget has since attracted widespread condemnations from man Nigerians who took to social media to speak against such spending by the lawmakers.

Lawan, in the defence of the budget, told journalists that no major renovation had been done on the National Assembly property for 20 years and many parts of the property had become dilapidated.

“The phase one renovation will commence – the chambers and committee rooms in the white house. ₦37 billion was sourced and was given. It was put under the FCT, not national Assembly. All we require is to have the complex renovated,” Lawan said.

“When we are through with phase 1, we will go to phase 2. It is not under the control of the National Assembly. The complex is a national asset and is for the FCDA to take care.”

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