The Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory has rejected plans by the Federal Capital Territory Administration to spend additional N9bn on the provision of infrastructure at the yet-to-be-completed residence of the Vice-President.
The committee, which visited the building site in Abuja on Thursday, refused to accept explanations from FCTA officials that N9bn more be sunk into the project.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Smart Adeyemi, who led members of his committee to the site, said such a huge amount was unjustifiable in the face of abject poverty in the country.
The Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority, Adamu Ismail, told the committee that the project was awarded in 2009 at a cost of N7bn.
He said the additional fund was needed to provide furniture, fencing, two protocol guest houses, a banquet hall and other security gadgets.
According to Ismail, the proposal is not included in the original plan of the building being handled by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc.
He said, “We have worked out the details and passed it to Bureau for Public Procurement for consideration. They have sent it back to us with their observation. We requested N9bn but now it came to about N6bn.”
However, Smart said, “The National Assembly is not going to appropriate additional N9bn for the project, especially at a period in this country when people cannot get a square meal.
“The N9bn is far more than the original cost of the project.
“Fourteen billion Naria to me is huge for the Vice-President’s house. If you are even talking of N10bn that would be understandable.
“The reality is that N14bn is indefensible and that is our submission. In Nigeria there are still many people with empty stomach. So we have to look at budgeting in relation to the needs of the people.”
However, Vice-Chairman of the Committee, Senator Domingo Obende, urged the officials to submit the details of the additional scope of work for which the fund was required to the committee for proper scrutiny.
The Vice-President’s residence had N2bn allocated to it in the FCTA’s 2013 budget.