NASS building now dangerous for lawmakers, Elumelu laments decay
The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, has lamented the dilapidated state of the National Assembly Complex where the rooms of the White House section of the building leak whenever it rains.
Elumelu had particularly raised a point of order under Privileges, to lament the situation at the plenary on Wednesday.
The lawmaker warned that the bad state of the building was now becoming a threat to the safety of lawmakers, saying, “If something is not done to address it, nobody owns one’s life but we never can tell what can happen.”
He added, “Coming into this place, you can see the cleaners; they are busy packing (mopping) the water that is coming down from this chamber (roof). And to me, it is dangerous for our continuous participation in our day-to-day representation of our people, speaking for our people…for good legislation.
“So, I think that Mr. Speaker, something needs to be done to address these leakages that we are having within this chamber. This is my submission.”
The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, in a brief remark, said, “This is a very important matter of privilege that affects the whole House in terms of the infrastructure here. Your point of order noted.”
A downpour in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, in the morning of June 22, 2021, had left several parts of the complex flooded, especially the central lobby at the ‘White House’ section of the building, which adjoins the Senate and House of Representatives chambers, was flooded.
The management of the National Assembly had contacted the Federal Capital Development Authority over the dilapidated state of the building housing the national parliament.
The Director of Information, National Assembly, Mr Rawlings Agada, had told our correspondent that the management had sprung into action to put in place temporary measures pending the time the building would be fully renovated.
Agada had said, “The management has made contact through the Director of Estate Management to the Director of Public Works at the FCDA. I understand that there was a scheduled visit to the site today but I cannot confirm if they have attended to that. They agreed to assess the situation by today. Cumulatively, all action towards remedying what happened here yesterday is on.”
The PUNCH had reported on May 4, 2017, that an evening downpour flooded the lobby. The rain that started at about 6pm and lasted about 30 minutes had led to water covering the entire protocol box of the lobby.
The Federal Government had proposed N37bn for renovation of the complex, which generated wide condemnations. The amount was later slashed to N9.2bn.
The project, which is being implemented by the FCDA, was tagged as an ‘ongoing’ one in the 2021 Appropriation Act.
Our correspondent, however, observed that no significant renovation had been done around the building recently.
Agada, however, said he could not confirm when the renovation would commence.
The White House was completed in 1999 when Nigeria returned to democracy, while the ‘New Buildings’, where lawmakers’ offices and hearing rooms are located, were completed in 2007.