An anti-corruption advocacy group in Nigeria, SERAP, condemned the planned renovation of the Nigerian National Assembly complex with N37bn.
On the official Twitter handle of the group,@SERAPNigeria, described the planned renovation as “another white elephant,” vowing that it would file a lawsuit to stop it.
The planned renovation “is antithetical to the constitutional oath of office (of the lawmakers).” SERAP said, “We’re suing to stop this wasteful and illegal spending.”
A human rights organisation, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education, on its part, also said that the money would have been able to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians who were confronted with untold hardships due to a nonfunctional system.
At a press conference in Abuja, Nigeria, the Executive Director of CHRICED, Ibrahim Zikirullahi, said the money would have gone a long way in providing jobs for many unemployed youths.
While defending the budget, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Benjamin Kalu, stated that rehabilitation of the building was long overdue.
He said ministries, departments and agencies under the executive arm of the Federal Government budgeted more for such projects without any public outcry.
“Whenever the issue of money comes up, Nigerians attack the National Assembly forgetting that this is a full arm of government. We oversight N10.6tn, we need facilities, gadgets and other things to get the job done, and that is the truth.
“During the budget defence (sessions), you would find most of them (lawmakers) using hand fans because the central air-conditioning system is not working. People who come for public hearings go to their various offices to make use of the toilet and come back. The ACs are not working in some of the (committee) rooms and people use hand fans in a place like the National Assembly. Can you see that in Aso Rock (Presidential Villa)? Go to the ministries and see the kind of offices that they stay in.”
Benjamin Kalu further remarked that the complex was being supervised under the Federal Capital Territory Administration.