From Fred Itua, Abuja
The contractor handling the renovation of the National Assembly, Visible Concept, has failed to deliver on the first phase of the exercise, despite an initial mobilisation of N9 billion by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).
FCDA had in March 2022, due to serious dilapidation of the National Assembly Complex, awarded contracts for the rehabilitation of critical segments like Hallowed Chambers of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Dome in the White House, as well as construction of the office of National Assembly Service Commission ( NASC) and Library at the cost of N30 billion.
The contractors handling the projects had promised to deliver them in phases between January and August 2023.
At an assessment visit carried out by Senator Smart Adeyemi-led Committee on FCT recently, senators and members of the House of Representatives were worried at the slow pace of work.
Adeyemi in particular had said that the renovation works being carried out at both chambers were commendable, but the slow spate of work was very worrisome.
He pointedly told the contractors that except for a miracle, the January 2023 deadline for delivery of transformed Hallowed Chambers, was no longer feasible.
He had said: “This project must not be abandoned in any way. The Hallowed Chambers are expected to be completed and delivered by the end of January 2023.
“But the level of work seen here today is not pointing at that which to us, is a threat to our legislative duties and functions.
“Non – completion of this project at designated times is even a threat to democracy itself because we don’t want the incoming government to inherit it as an abandoned one.
“So, this committee wants to know challenges confronting the contractors as regards expeditious execution of the projects.”
Despite its inability to deliver on its promise, rye contractors have not offered any explanation on why they defaulted.
In the meantime, senators and members of the House of Representatives are fuming. They’re threatening to call for a review of the contract or a possible replacement of the contractors over the slow pace of work.
In separate interviews with Daily Sun, they said the makeshift hearing rooms they’re using as chambers, were very inconvenient.
They warned that upon resumption later in February after the general elections, the issue may be extensively discussed during plenary where a decision will be taken.
One of the senators who is a member of the FCT committee told Daily Sun that if not pushed, the contractors may delay the work for the next five years.
“We need to break the contract. It is obvious that Visible Concept contractors are incapable of delivering on this job. They obviously lack the needed manpower.
“We’ll bring up the issue in plenary when we resume unless we see some level of improvement.”