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Reps Speaker, contractor disagree on deadline for chamber renovation

The contractor handling the renovation of the House of Representatives chamber says the December 31 deadline given by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, to complete the renovation is not sacrosanct.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Project Manager of the contract, Mr Tajudeen Olanipekun, said this while reacting to the December 31 deadline given by the Speaker, who, along with his Deputy, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, paid an unscheduled visit to the project site on November 14.

Asked if funding was causing the delay, Olanipekun said an emphatic no, saying the contract has been well funded.

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NAN reports that the renovation, which began in April 2022, has lasted over one year without any signs that the job is nearing completion.

The Speaker gave the December 31, 2023, deadline within which the job should be completed to enable lawmakers to begin the year 2024 legislative work at the newly-renovated chamber.

NAN reports that the project is being handled by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCDA) and not the management of the National Assembly.

Olanipekun described the lawmakers as mere end users, adding that the deadline was not sacrosanct.

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According to him, “we are dealing with end users and not the client, whatever we do we report to the client. We cannot stop the end users from coming to see their property.”

NAN reports that the Speaker’s unscheduled inspection was to ensure that the December 31 deadline for the project’s conclusion is met.

This would also ensure that the House seating commences in the new chamber on resumption from the end-of-year recess.

Meanwhile, before the renovation work commenced, the National Assembly complex was always flooded due to heavy rainfall.

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Also, in 2019, over N30 billion was budgeted for the renovation of the complex, but the amount generated a lot of criticism and was reviewed downwards to N9 billion.

Rep. Amos Daniel, Chairman, House Services Committee, also gave the assurance of diligent supervision of the Contractor to ensure that the project was delivered on schedule and according to specification.

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