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More Criticisms has continued to trail the proposed spending of N37 billion for the renovation of the National Assembly
complex as two lawmakers goes against the decision.
Akin Alabi from Egbeda/Ona Area Federal
Constituency, Oyo State and Legor Idagbo from Bekwarra, Obanliku and Obudu
Federal Constituency, Cross Rivers State, said spending such amount on the
renovation is in not in the best interest of the country.


Alabi, a member of the ruling All
Progressives Congress, in a tweet said there was “no reason” the National
Assembly should spend such to renovate the complex.
“Yes, we need an upgrade on some aspects
like the electronic systems (sound system, voting system etc) as they are
outdated but N37b? No. Let’s spend that on our schools and hospitals,” Alabi
tweeted.
Alabi revealed that the budget was not
debated nor discussed at the National Assembly.
“It was not discussed on the floor of
the house. Renovation of National Assembly is not debated on the floor of the
house,” he said while answering queries from one his followers on why he had
not stood against while the budget was presented in the House.
Also, Idagbo, a member of Peoples
Democratic Party, said the lawmakers complex does not “needs  any renovation that would cost the country
N37bn.”
“We need more upgraded classrooms and
hospitals to cater to the Nigerian people,” Idagbo also opined.
Their disavowal of the budget for the complex renovation came a few hours after the another House of Representatives
member Bamidele Salam, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party representing
Ede North/Ede South/Egbedore/Ejigbo Federal Constituency said the National
Assembly does “not need a 37 billion Naira renovation of that edifice.”
“Apart from the Chambers of the NASS
which need some upgrade in the audio and recording system, the entire structure
needs no renovation more than our classrooms, hospitals and roads which are
mostly in a decrepit condition,” Salam said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
Salam said he will put opinion forward
on the floor of the House of Representatives when the House reconvenes in
January.
Meanwhile Rights groups and 583
concerned Nigerians have filed a suit seeking to halt the release of the N37
billion allocated for the renovation of the National Assembly complex to the
Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and the National Assembly
leadership pending the impact assessment of the spending.
The civil society organisations, which
include the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), BudgIT
and Enough is Enough (EiE), are asking the Federal High Court, Abuja to
“restrain and stop President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Finance,
Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, from releasing the allocated
sum.”
The groups are also seeking an interlocutory injunction to “restrain, prevent and stop the Senate President,
Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the
FCDA from demanding or collecting the N37 billion earmarked for the renovation
of the National Assembly complex until an impact assessment of the spending on
critical sectors and access to public goods and services are carried out.”
In the suit number,
FHC/ABJ/CS/1633/2019 filed last weekend, the plaintiffs argued: “The National
Assembly complex should be a safe and conducive environment for those who work
there. But spending N37 billion to renovate the place is not commensurate with
the constitutional commitments to public services and goods; decreasing public
revenues and increasing level of debts as well as the poor economic and social
realities in the country.”
The motion on notice, filed by Kolawole
Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi read in part: “The defendants are public
officers who have sworn to the constitutional oath of office to perform their
respective duties in the interest of Nigerian citizens. The refusal of
President Buhari to object to the budget/appropriation bill containing a huge
N37 billion on the renovation of the National Assembly complex is a gross violation
of the constitution and existing laws in Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari approved 37 billion for the renovation of the National Assembly
complex. The allocation was first mentioned by the Senate President, Ahmed
Lawan, who said Buhari approved the amount after lawmakers met with him to
explain the poor condition of the legislative building in Abuja.
The budget has since attracted
widespread condemnations from many Nigerians who took to social media to speak
against such spending by the lawmakers.
Lawan, in the defence of the budget,
told journalists that no major renovation had been done on the National
Assembly property for 20 years and many parts of the property had become
dilapidated.

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