The Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory on Thursday opposed the release of additional N9 billion for Vice President Namadi Sambo’s official residence now under construction.
The Chairman of the Committee, Smart Adeyemi, who spoke while on oversight visit to the site of the project said such a huge sum was uncalled for especially at a time when most Nigerians cannot afford three square meals.
“The National Assembly is not going to appropriate additional N9 billion for the project especially at a period in this country where people cannot get three square meal,” He said.
The Senator insisted that “the N9 billion is far more than the original cost of the project.”
The Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Adamu Ismail had told the lawmakers that the project was awarded in 2009 at the cost of N7billion.
He added that the additional N9 billion was needed to provide furniture, fencing, two additional protocol guest houses, a banquet hall and other security gadgets.
Mr Ismail said the new proposal was not included in the original scope of work being handled by Julius Berger Nigeria Limited.
The Vice Chairman of the Committee, Domingo Obende, however asked the Executive Secretary to submit the additional scope of work for which the fund is required to the committee for proper scrutiny.
Mr Ismail told the lawmakers that the proposed N9 billion has been slashed to about N6 billion by the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP).
He said: “We have worked out the details and passed to BPP for consideration.
“They (BPP) have sent it back to us with their observation.
“We requested for N9 billion but now it came to about N6 billion.”
Mr Adeyemi said the N14 billion is indefensible in view of present realities.
He said: “Now you are asking us to approve a total sum of about N14 billion and this is just the Vice President’s residence.
“N14 billion to me is huge for the Vice President’s house.
“If you are talking of N10 billion that would be understandable.
“The reality is that N14 billion is indefensible and that is our submission.
“In Nigeria there are still many people with empty stomach.
“So we have to look at budgeting in relation to the needs of the people.”