Sunday, August 14, 2022

Abuja minister demands N21 billion to complete ‘White House’ for National Assembly members 

Muhammad Bello told members of a Senate committee that N9.2 billion had been paid to contractors for the project.

• July 21, 2022

Abuja minister Muhammad Bello has demanded N21.029 billion to complete the rehabilitation of the National Assembly Complex.

He disclosed this on Thursday during an oversight tour of some projects in the capital city by the Senate Committee on FCT.

The minister said the National Assembly Phase II, popularly known as “White House”, was built from 1996 to 1999 by ITB Nigeria Ltd and no major rehabilitation works had been carried out on the building ever since.

He said that the contract, which was awarded on December 30, 2021, for N30.229 billion was to be completed in 16 months. He said N9.2 billion had been paid to contractors.

“The commencement date is April 16 and is expected to be completed Aug. 15, 2023,” the minister said.

The minister listed other priority projects embarked upon by the administration as including the rehabilitation of the Federal Secretariat Complex, the construction of the Southern Parkway from the Christian Center to the Ring Road.

Others he said were the rehabilitation of expansion of Outer Southern Expressway, provision of engineering infrastructure for Wuye District, rehabilitation and expansion of Outer Southern Expressway Villa Roundabout and completion of B6, B12 and Circle Road in Central Area.

He explained that the ministry gave some projects in the city priority over others due to scarcity of funds.

“What we did was because of the scarcity of funds, we prioritised key infrastructure projects to get them completed.

“And in deciding to the ones that fit into that category, we looked at the ones that will give the maximum benefit to the maximum number of people.

“All the four projects we visited, you find that they are all road projects that are meant to link one section of the Abuja city to another and that is the whole idea.

“The master plan has been designed in such a way that they complement each other.

“So if you finish one portion and you don’t do the other one, then you don’t get the full utility of that particular road,” Mr Bello said.

Mr Bello further said that it was the intention of the ministry that as the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration rounds off, a number of projects would be completed.

“Some of them we intend to develop them to a level whereby the next team should be able to do it.

“Ultimately, the objective is to make Abuja a vibrant city; a city where people will feel comfortable; where there wouldn’t be traffic gridlock and where facilities will work.”

He said that by working together with the Senate, the ministry would be able to achieve the completion of the projects.

Mr Bello, however, said that running a mega city was a huge challenge noting that demographically, Abuja had changed tremendously.

“So the main challenge is to be able to fast track the provision of infrastructure at a pace that will be able to match with population growth.”

Also speaking, Chairman Senate Committee on FCT Tolu Odebiyi, who led the committee members, said: ”what we have seen is quite impressive.

“We believe that in the twilight of this administration, in the next month, it is important we catalogue all the projects that are being done and prioritise the ones that must be completed before the end of this term.

“This is so that we can also make sure we provide the adequate funding and budget for it.

“Their budget is going to be forwarded to us very shortly and it is important we come and see the state of the work and the completion rate of the programme before we take them on.

“Like any other project, we will make sure all the projects that require priority are given the due attention like any other project.”

(NAN)

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