The National Assembly, yesterday, witnessed an embarrassing scene within its premises as a heavy downpour forced the roof to leak at several points, resulting in pools of water on the floor. The leakages caused a minor flood at the Central Lobby of the gigantic legislative complex, popularly called the ‘White House’, which houses the Upper and Lower chambers of the Assembly. Apart from the lobby, other parts of the building seriously affected include the Senate Press Centre and the United Bank of Africa (UBA), within the building constructed about 30 years ago.
The staff of the Thyaura Company, official cleaners in the National Assembly, battled to clean up and control the water as the intensity of the rainfall increased by the minute. Lawmakers, staff members and visitors, were forced to wait at the lobby for a while, before proceeding to the chamber, their offices and other destinations, even as more cleaners were brought in to join their colleagues in bailing the water. The building was constructed by ITB Construction, a member of the Chagoury and Chagoury Group of Companies, during the regime of late General Sanni Abacha.
There have been signs that different wings of the edifice required urgent rehabilitation within the last 10 years. The Federal Government in an attempt to address the ugly trend, earmarked the sum of N37 billion for renovation of the complex in the 2020 budget.
However, public outcry against the amount considered to be bogus by some concerned Nigerians, forced the Federal Government to cut it down to N18 billion during the review of the 2020 budget, following the outbreak of the COVID- 19 pandemic. Meanwhile, it is not clear whether the N18 billion was released 100 percent in the implementation of the 2020 budget. Efforts by the New Telegraph to get across to the Clerk of the National Assembly (CNA), Mr. Ojo Olatunde, to comment on the ugly development, proved abortive as at the time of filing this report.