PRESIDENT of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has bemoaned the continued delay in the completion of the N52.031 billion contract for a world-class ultra-modern facility permanent site awarded to Julius Berger in 2012 to construct a befitting accommodation for the National Institute of Legislative Studies (NILS) in Abuja.
Some of the engineers, who craved anonymity, told The Guardian that work actually commenced in 2013 but refused to disclose the amount so far released for the project. The Guardian gathered that about N8.7 billion was still being owed the construction firm.
Saraki, who led the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and other members of both chambers of the National Assembly to undertake an assessment tour of the complex occupying 80 square metres land situated along airport road, yesterday decried the paucity of fund and dwindling economy he said contributed to the failure by the construction firm to deliver on the 24 months contract duration.
President of the Senate and the Speaker who fielded questions after a tour of the site, said when completed, the project awarded in 2013 comprising a convention centre, administrative building, a state of the art library lecture theatre, hostel, clinic and residences, among others, would be the first legislative knowledge hub of its kind in Africa.
Saraki said the National Assembly was interested in the project and assured of the commitment of the leadership to ensure accelerated phased completion of the permanent site in order to strengthen legislative institutions in the country and Africa in general.
On his part, Dogara said: “We hope that it will serve as a prime training institute for legislators not just in Nigeria but in the continent of Africa.
“What we can do in the face of dwindling resources is to identify priority segments of the project and try to complete it so that we can immediately put this place into use.
This project answers the question of how the National Assembly has been utilising its budgetary allocation.”
Earlier, the project architect, Zingak Gomwalk, told the visiting lawmakers that officials of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) defaulted in their responsibility to provide electricity and water among other basic infrastructure to the area but that most of the structural work had been completed.
He said: “The extent of work done is about 26 per cent completion. Most of the structural works had been completed with the exception of the convention centre.”