Senate faults allocation of Abuja Green Area to Jonathan, Diezani, others
•Chides FCTA over the recurring allocations to VP, UN houses in budgets
•VP’s house to gulp another N501 million this year
•Senate President, Speaker’s house to gulp another N3 billion
•FCTA has N99.8 billion liabilities
By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke
THE Senate has begun investigation into the allocation of plots in Maitama Hill in the nation’s capital territory to former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison- Madueke and other top government functionaries in the last dispensation. Chairman of the Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Dino Melaye, yesterday, disclosed that the Senate has put a stop to any development in the area, which he said had been reserved as green area.
He spoke when the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Malam Muhammad Bello appeared before the FCT Committee to defend the 2016 budget. Melaye, who claimed that the area was supposed to serve as tourist attraction, alleged that other beneficiaries of plots in the area included former Justice Minister and Attorney-General of the Federation, Muhammed Bello Adoke, SAN; former Bauchi State governor, Isa Yuguda; late National Security Adviser, Andrew Owoeye Azazi; former Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, among others.
The Senate also tongue lashed the FCTA for the recurrence of the design and construction of Vice President’s residence as well as that of the United Nations and the National Assembly in budgets and decried a situation where cost of variation was higher than the real cost of the project.
The budget proposal for the residence reads: “Design and Construction of Vice President’s Residence: This project was awarded in 2009 at a contract sum of N7,065,665,742.40. The sum of N500,000,000.00 was appropriated in 2015 for the project while the sum of N55,422,888.19 was accessed. The total sum paid to date on this project is N6,270,910,184.90 with the sum of N794,755,557.60 as amount required to complete the project. This project has attained 88.7 per cent level of completion. The sum of N500,607,384.17 is proposed for the 2016 fiscal
For National Assembly Presiding Officers and Guest House, the Minister said, “ Design and Construction of National Assembly Presiding Officers’ Residence & Guest House: The project has two components awarded to numerous contractors at a total contract sum of N27,19.2,777,630.86. The project entails the provision of residences for Presiding Officers of the National Assembly, which comprises Main Building, ADC’s House, Guest House, Staff Quarters, Gate House, Banquet Hall, Chapel, Mosque and Power House. The sum of N2,000,000,000.00 was appropriated for this project in the 2015 fiscal year, while the sum of Nl,763,341,422.14 was actually released. The total sum of N13,578,469,394.56 has been paid to date with a balance sum of N13,614,308,236.30 required to complete the Project. The project is 500/0 level of completion. For the year 2016, the sum of N3,500,000,000.00 is proposed for the Project.”
The FCTA however disclosed that the total outstanding liabilities for projects under the FCT National Priority Budget stood at N99,895,541,963.73.