Deji Adebayo, Abuja
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, yesterday said the National Assembly complex is long overdue for rehabilitation.
He said the leaking roof and the flooding it caused during Tuesday’s downpour vindicated the position of his leadership on the need for the rehabilitation of the National Assembly complex.
Lawan said this in reaction to a point of order moved by Senate Deputy Chief Whip Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.
Abdullahi had complained that some reports about the leaking roof and the flooding of the chambers contained inaccuracies and impugned the integrity of the lawmakers.
Citing Orders 14 and 15 of the Senate Standing Orders, the senator picked holes in the reports of some media houses.
He said some of the reports infringed on his and colleagues’ rights as Federal lawmakers.
Abdullahi said; “In that report, three things were reported which were very inaccurate. That there was downpour or leakage, even in the chamber. That was not correct. There was leakage, of course, around the premises outside the chamber. Also, it was reported that because of that leakage, it delayed our sitting. That also was not correct.
“The leadership had house-keeping matters and, of course, until the leadership comes into the chamber, sitting will not begin. Thirdly and the most critical was that they reported the leadership as approving N37 billion for rehabilitation of this building. This is nothing further from the truth…
“As we all know when the sum of N37 billion was made as provision in the initial 2020 budget, the media went to town, castigating and calling the National Assembly members all sorts of names.
“Now, at the end of the day, it was reduced to N9 billion in view of the pandemic, so that they can take the rehabilitation in phases. As we speak, nothing has been done, until yesterday, as we all saw leakage across the complex.
“This is a vindication of what the leadership and indeed the Senate and members of the House of Representatives saw with respect to this edifice.”
While adding to the complaints about the reports, Lawan said; “Let me advise the media: this is irresponsible. I must say, seek the truth, investigate properly before you compile and send your report.
“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 the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), the owners of the building.”