NASS : Complaints on reconfigured Chamber linger in Senate

…as Whip describes it as Conference Room
…the Contractor did a poor job….Lawmaker
By Abdullateef Bamgbose

Complaints by Senators on their refurbished Chamber continued Tuesday , a week after bickerings about sitting arrangements
The contract for the renovations of the two Chambers of the National Assembly apart from the homogeneous amount involved had generated controversy as the bidding process allegedly skew in favour of indigenous contractors .
The foreign had expressed concern over the inability to handle the renovations.

The Speaker House of representatives, Tajudeen Abbas , confirmed this much last week during the tour of the facilities before the resumptions of the lawmakers from three weeks recess.

“Some foreign firms almost misled leadership of the National Assembly in 2022 into rejecting any local firm from getting contract for renovation work at the federal parliament, said the Speaker of the House of Representatives , Hon Tajudeen Abbas “

Hon Abbas stated this last week at the renovated and reconfigured Hallowed Chambers of the House of Representatives and that of the Senate during a joint inspection of the Chamber with the Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu , Hon Femi Gbajabiamila .

According to him , when the Federal Capital Development Authority ( FCDA) , informed leadership of the 9th National Assembly on plan to award contract for renovation of the Hallowed Chambers , some foreign firms mounted pressures on FCDA and NASS to get it .

” The interested foreign firms then, even went beyond mounting pressures on relevant authorities for the contract by also resorting to blackmailing the local firms from being considered at all .

“Different tactics were employed by foreign firms to discredit nigerian indigenous contractors as being inferior.

“But as usual, the foreign contractors came with bogus proposals which gave room for listening to the voice in support of local contractor and eventual award of the contract to Visible Construction Limited, a subsidiary of Laralek Ultimate Group, a fully registered Nigerian indigenous company owned by a young Nigerian.

“This is a master piece,a fantastic job done by a local contractor and we must commend him for the job he has done because a lot of us were doubting whether a local contractor can be able to do this particular job, we have our reservation when the contract was awarded.

“But today we are all witnesses that the reconfigured chambers exceeded our expectations and very befitting for the 10th National Assembly “, he said .
Recall that Senate plenary was last week Tuesday, marred by complaints made by some senators on sitting arrangements in the renovated chamber.

But some Lawmakers in the upper legislative Chamber , said that the fear of the foreign firms has been confirmed as the Senate Chambers have witnessed a rowdy session and adjournment barely 24 hours after it’s resumption last week.

An angry Senator from the North East who does not want his name mentioned told journalists that” the Chamber should have been left the way it was. This more of a lecture theatre befitting under graduates in university”

The complaints over the reconfigured Chamber last week led to a rowdy session which lasted for about 15 minutes and eventually forced the Senate into executive session .

A week after , issues on alleged inadequacies in the Chamber were again raised , specifically by the Whip of the Senate , Senator Ali Ndume ( APC Borno South).

Senator Ndume who raised the issues through Order 42 of the Senate Standing rules , said what supposed to be a Chamber, has been turned into a conference hall which according to him , is not acceptable .

” Mr President , I rise to make disturbing observations on this supposedly renovated chamber through order 42 that deals with personal privileges .

” Since day one , precisely last week Tuesday when we moved into this Chamber that supposed to have been renovated , there have been complaints here and there .

” First was on sitting arrangements , followed by echoing of voices by microphones that are even not audible . No voting device , required facilities not yet provided .

” We need to correct all these anomalies for the Hallowed Chamber to be what it supposed to be “, he said .

Concurring to Ndume’s observations , the President of the Senate , Godswill Akpabio ,in his response , said the observations were well noted and the point of Order , upheld .

He however explained to Ndume that complaints on sitting arrangements among Senators , have been sorted out 99.9% just as he reminded him that contract for the renovation work was not done by the 10th National Assembly.

” This is not our contract and not even National Assembly contract but that of the Federal Capital Development Authority ( FCDA) , the landlord of the National Assembly Complex .

“Observations on inadequacies in the renovated chamber , are welcome from time to time for required perfection but what we should be aiming at in the long run, is for us , as federal lawmakers , to have proper autonomy on the National Assembly Complex and not continue as tenants of FCDA .”, he said .


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