Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has asked Nigerians to stop blaming lawmakers for the National Assembly leaking roof.
Many Nigerians had described the incident as a national embarassment after photos and videos of the flooded National Assembly went viral on social media on Tuesday June 22.
Deputy Whip of the Senate, Senator Sabi Abdullahi who raised a point of order on Tuesday, said reports about the leaky roof breached the privilege of the lawmakers and were done to denigrate their integrity.
Noting that the N37 billion earmarked for the renovation of the National Assembly complex in the 2020 budget was slashed to N9 billion in the revised one, Abdullahi stated that the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) was in charge of the maintenance of the complex and not the lawmakers against the belief of many Nigerians.
He also disclosed that up till now, nothing has been done.
Abdullaji said: “It was reported that because of that leakage, it delayed our sitting. That also was not correct. The leadership had housekeeping matters and until the leadership enters the chamber, sitting would not begin.
“Thirdly and the most critical, was that the leadership approved N37 billion for the rehabilitation. This is nothing further from the truth.
“When the 9th Senate came on board, the leadership noticed dilapidation and the need for the rehabilitation of the National Assembly complex.
“The Senate President and Speaker approached Mr President to report this matter and we were all briefed that Mr President was willing to ensure that something is done about it.
“When the pandemic came, the N37bn was reduced to N9bn so we can take the rehabilitation in phases. As we speak nothing is being done.”
Responding to this, Senate President Ahmad Lawan maintained that the leaky roof is a clear testimony, confirmation and vindication of the position the National Assembly took initially on renovation of the building.
Lawan further stated that if the National Assembly leaks, then we are not holding our democracy with the respect it has.
“The fact that there was a leakage to me is a clear testimony, confirmation and vindication of the position the National Assembly took initially.
“Everyone knows that this place is overdue for rehabilitation. We went to see Mr President and he was gracious and he asked us to meet with FCTA, the owners of the building.
“Myself, the Speaker, late chief of staff and minister of finance met to look for money for the rehabilitation of the National Assembly.
“When the N37 billion was approved, it was not a National Assembly budget, it was an FCDA budget.
“If this place leaks we are not holding our democracy with the respect it has. We expect the press to inform the people responsibly.
“This house is the house of Nigerians. It belongs to Nigerians and it deserves to be rehabilitated'” Lawan said.