THE Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engineer Adamu Ismaila on Thursday said that additional N7 billion would be needed to put all facilities in the official residence of the Vice President in place.
This was however turned down as the Senate quickly replied that it will not give its approval to the additional N7 billion requested for the completion.
The Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was on an oversight tour of the projects executed by the FCDA in the 2012 budget to justify the level of implementation and also to guide the committee on the 2013 budget proposal.
While an approval of N7 billion had already been given for the project, the Executive Secretary of the FCDA, Adamu Ismaeel, said an additional N7 billion would be needed to put all facilities in place in the residence.
According to him, “a proposal of N9 billion was placed before the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) for the fencing, building of a banquet hall, security gadgets, two protocol houses and other infrastructural requirement needed in the residence, but was however reduced to about N6.5 billion”, an amount which the Senate committee still frowned at.
Taking an exemption to the additional request, the chairman of the committee, Senator Smart Adeyemi and his Vice, Senator Domingo Obende said such a request would not be appropriated.
Stating that the issue of security and a banquet hall ought to have been appropriated in the initial proposal, they vowed that the Senate would not appropriate any money for the project.
Smart said, “I can assure you that this committee will not appropriate, not even one kobo for this project. The N7 billion already appropriated for it is big enough.
“While the life of the vice president is important, there is no way this request for an additional N7 billion could be accommodated.
“How do we explain this to Nigerians who are going through the pains of hunger? Julius Berger (the construction company handling the project) should be a partner, seeking to help Nigeria, rather than adding to the burden.
“Even if the Due Process Office accept the figure, the Senate would not appropriate it. The Senate is accountable to the people.
“Seeking for an approval of N14 billion for the vice president residence is huge. The furniture will not be imported from heaven. N14 billion is indefensible. There are so many hungry stomachs in the country today.
“How do you explain to Nigerians that you are building an official residence for the Vice President without putting into consideration banquet hall, security outfits and furniture, it is unheard of and I suspect foul play on this project.
“We shall go into it and investigate what has gone into the project, we will expect you to supply us with the contract papers, the bill of quantity and the plan for the building”, he said.
Meanwhile, security at the official residence of the FCT Minister, Mohammed Bala denied the senators entrance insisting they should call the minister before they could allow them entry.
The matter almost degenerated into major face off between the security at the minister’s entrance and security aides of the senators as they confronted each other in protecting their boss’.
It scuffle however went on for over ten minutes before one of the senators prevailed on the committee chairman, Senator Smart Adeyemi to call the minister to enable them get entry to his quarters.
The Post however gathered that the senators took up the minister in their closed door meeting the fresh request of N7billion on the Vice President official residence, but was not clear on their final resolution