Leaking National Assembly roofs – Vanguard News
NIGERIANS live with too many embarrassing things happening in the circles where their affairs are governed. The country’s leaders are leaving the health sector and flying to countries whose systems work to enjoy their services at taxpayers’ expense, while doctors and other health professionals are allowed to go on strike for more than two months due to poor welfare.
The latest show of shame is the leaking roofs of the National Assembly Complex, Abuja. Several months ago, workers in the complex were seen on live television scooping water from the lobby floors of the main legislative chamber. Rainwater poured down from the main dome, which should be the crowning glory of a major national monument.
The bimonthly annual legislative recess that ended last week had been thought to be a great opportunity to fix the spill with the princely sum of N9 billion previously allocated for that purpose in the 2020 budget. It should be recalled that the National Assembly had earmarked N37 billion for that project.
It took a national outcry to cut costs. In response to the spill, House of Representatives spokesman Benjamin Kalu childishly claimed that, despite the huge amount budgeted for the repairs, the spill justified the N37 billion previously earmarked.
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We have copied everything we do in Nigeria as an alleged democratic entity from the advanced western countries, especially the United States of America. In these countries, the legislative buildings are national monuments, and citizens are encouraged to visit them to cherish their national pride. They are also major tourist attractions. But our National Assembly Complex is like a fortress, with strict security measures to limit public access.
The United States Capitol Building which was completed in 1800 still looks as good as new due to excellent routine maintenance. But our own National Assembly complex, which was completed in 1999, is already falling apart after 22 years!
We agree with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, that, despite the amount voted for the renovation, the ongoing roof leaks are “a major problem for us” as a nation. Has that money been spent? If so, how was it spent leaving the roof and dome in such a sorry state?
We disagree with Benjamin Kalu that N37 billion is needed to renovate a complex built with N7 billion despite the deteriorating value of the naira.
Nigeria is a poor country, yet we spend through the nose doing routine public works just because we have to cater to the greed of politicians and officials.
The leaking roofs of the National Assembly need to be investigated.