– Senate cuts the cost of renovating National Assembly building to N9.2bn
President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, has attributed the major security challenges facing the country to international politics, which he said was frustrating efforts to acquire sophisticated military hardware needed by the security agencies to do their job.
Speaking in Abuja at the weekend ahead of the first anniversary of the ninth senate, Lawan explained that efforts to buy equipment for the Nigerian armed forces were usually frustrated by international politics, adding that the requests were taking longer than that of other countries.
He, however, admitted that the country’s security system was currently over-stretched.
“To some extent, we are suffering from international politics. I know that in our efforts to buy spare parts for the jets, we write to a certain foreign government and it will take six to nine months, while another country will write to the same government and may get it in one or two months.
“So something is not right, but that’s to say that it’s now one of our challenges that we will continue to engage with countries that we feel don’t understand what we are doing here.
“Also, we need more resources for security. By resources, I don’t mean just money; we need more personnel for the armed forces, the police, Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and almost all the agencies and paramilitary as well.”
Lawan added that the country’s army also needed equipment and training.
On the misunderstanding over the actual vote for the renovation of the National Assembly, Lawan said the budget had been reduced to N9.2 billion in the revised 2020 Appropriation Bill now before the National Assembly for approval
His words, “The renovation was misunderstood. But sometimes you allow criticisms so that you give the people the feeling that this is democracy. People criticised it, but we took it very calmly.
“It’s not a National Assembly building; it’s the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) building. We need to ensure that something as important as an arm of government, the people’s complex, is not allowed to deteriorate. Thirty-seven billion naira was estimated by the FCDA to rehabilitate the National Assembly complex because they have the technical capacity and this is their building just like the Presidential Villa. They maintain it. So it’s not our own.
“Some people did not understand it, but given this situation of COVID-19, and the need to save some of the things that are not very relevant, we’ve reduced it to N9.2 billion and that’s the budget for FCDA to implement not National Assembly.”