Vice-President Namadi Sambo on Monday denied being involved in the hike of the construction of his official residence from an initial cost of N7bn to N16bn.
The Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory, Senator Domingo Obende, had been quoted in the media saying the Vice-President had requested that the quarters suit his culture and religion which necessitated an extra N9bn.
Obende was said to have reportedly said an engineer with Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, the project contractor, had told the committee that the house was initially designed to suit the taste of then Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan but the emergence of Sambo as the Vice-President changed the plan.
However, Sambo, in a statement released by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Umar Sani, sought to clear the air on the controversy, saying that the Vice-President could not have had anything to do with the construction, as it is an official residence and not a personal residence.
“He therefore should not be connected in anyway with the expenditure of the construction,” the statement read.
He explained that his current official residence at Aguda House was designated as a presidential guest house in the Abuja Masterplan, which necessitated the building of a permanent official residence.
He added that the Federal Capital Territory Administration, as the agency saddled with the responsibility of providing accommodation for deserving government officials, is making sure it implements the master plan by siting the permanent residence of the Vice-President at its present location and making it befitting of any Vice-President.
The statement read, “It should be noted that the concept and choice of a residential accommodation was purely by professionals in the FCT Administration and VP Sambo never interfered with the budgetary requirements or costs associated with the constructions.
“It should also interest members of the public that not a single kobo was given to the construction of the residence in the 2012 budget of the FCT.”
It then asked that the Vice-President not be connected with the expenditure of the construction, as he had nothing to do with it considering that it was an official residence and not a personal one.