The Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory rejected requests for an extra N9billion by the Federal Capital Territory Administration to complete the residence of the Vice-President.
The committee, after making a visit, failed to be convinced by the FCTA that a further N9bn be sunk into the project.
The Committee Chairman, Senator Smart Adeyemi, leading members of his committee around the site, said such an amount could not be justified in the face of abject poverty in the land.
The Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority, Adamu Ismail, informed the committee that the project was awarded at the initial cost of N7bn in 2007.
He said that the extra funds were required to provide furniture, fencing, two protocol guest houses, a banquet hall and security gadgets.
These, he said, were not part of the original plans of the building, of which Julius Berger Nigeria Plc is the contractor.
“We have worked out the details, and passed it to the Bureau of Public Procurement for consideration. They’ve sent it back to us with their observations,” he said.
“We requested for N9bn, but it has come down to about N6bn.”
Nonetheless, Smart said, “The National Assembly is not going to appropriate N9bn for this project, especially at this period where some people can’t even get a square meal.”
“The N9bn is even more than the original cost of the building. Fourteen billion naira to me is huge for the Vice-President’s house. If it was N10bn, it would have been understandable.”
“The reality is that N14bn is indefensible and that is our submission. In Nigeria, there are still many people with empty stomachs. We have to do budgetting with that in regards.”
On the other hand, the Vice-Chairman of the Committee, Senator Domingo Obende, implored the officials to submit the details of the scope of the additional work for which the additional funds are sought to the committee for proper scrutiny.
The Vice-President’s house has a N2 billion allocation in the 2013 budget for the FCT.