Senators and House of Representatives members have concluded plans to relocate plenary session from their main chambers to temporary venues as the contractor handling the renovation of the National Assembly Complex is set to commence work.
The National Assembly complex is long due for general maintenance. In 2021, the flooding of the parliament’s White House after a downpour caught headlines.
There had been concerns that the incident, which many described as “national embarrassment”, happened despite the billions of naira voted for the general maintenance of the National Assembly complex handled by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), an agency under the FCT.
There was public outrage in early 2020 over the approval of N37bn for the renovation of the complex. Also, out of the parliament’s N134bn budget in 2021, N9.134bn was earmarked for general service.
Though it was not immediately clear the costs of the renovation project, it was gathered that it was far less N37 billion.
The renovation work, according to the contractors, would last 16 months, with alternative arrangement in place for plenary.
A statement from the office of the Clerk to the National Assembly said Senators would temporarily conduct plenary at Committee Room 022 on the ground floor of the New Senate Building, while House of Representatives members would use spacious committee rooms on the ground floor of its new wing as plenary venue.
There is also a plan to use teleconferencing technology to link all lawmakers who may not be able to find seat at the Committee Room on to the ground floor, it added.
Speaking at the official handing over ceremony of the Complex to the contractor handling the project, the Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engr. Shehu Hadi Ahmad, represented by the acting Director of Public Buildings, Arc. Adebowale Ademo, listed the scope of work to be carried during the renovation.
Adebowale said: “The renovation will comprise the two plenary chambers of the National Assembly as well as the office buildings housing the office accommodation for the Senators and Honourable Members of the House of Representatives.
“The scope of what is to be done in this phase one of the works entails making the roof water tight. There have been several inconveniences of roof leakages experienced in the past and one of the major areas of attention is to redress the roof leakages and make the entire roof of the White House water tight.”
The Clerk to the National Assembly, Arc. Ojo Olatunde Amos, who was represented by the Secretary Estate and Works, Engr. Bashir Yero, said the National Assembly Complex will remain a place to be in terms of legislators’ comfort after the renovation.
The CNA said the renovation of the National Assembly was long overdue as the new face of the complex when completed will give a physiological boost to lawmakers, staff and visitors including Parliamentary reporters.