Senate President Ahmad Lawan says the National Assembly Complex is overdue for rehabilitation.
He asked Nigerians to stop bashing the National Assembly management for the parliament’s leaky roof.
Following Tuesday’s heavy downpour, it was discovered that the roof of the White House, which houses the two chambers, was leaking, letting in rainwater.
Many Nigerians and civic groups had described the incident as a national embarrassment.
Reacting to the wide media reports on the incident, Lawan said the roof leakage confirmed the position of the lawmakers that the building was due for renovation.
Lawan said: “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.”
Senate Deputy Whip of the Senate, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, raising a point of order, said the reports breached the privilege of the lawmakers and were done to denigrate their integrity.
Senate Spokesman, Senator Ajibola Basiru, clarified 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 said the N37bn earmarked for the renovation of the National Assembly complex in 2020 budget was slashed to N9bn in the revised version.
“While it’s true that an initial appropriation of the above stated sum was made due to the decaying nature of the National Assembly Complex which has not witnessed any major maintenance or overhauling since construction, the said amount was reduced to N9bn naira the breakout of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even with this reduction, the sum of N9bn or any amount is yet to be cash backed or released to the National Assembly. None of this amount is even appropriated for the National Assembly bureaucracy or its leadership,” Basiru said.