The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has directed the management of the National Assembly to fix the faulty Air Conditioning system in the House Chamber before the commencement of debate on the 2022 budget proposal.
During the plenary session on Tuesday, lawmakers complained of intense heat in the chamber as a result of the faulty AC.
Following the complaints by the lawmakers, the Speaker directed the Clerk of the House, Chinedu Akabueze, to ensure that the AC is fixed before Wednesday, noting that members cannot debate the budget under “this condition.”
“Clerk, please can you make sure that the AC here is working tomorrow. We have to begin the debate of the budget and we cannot do it under this condition. It is very important and very imperative that it is working tomorrow,” Mr Gbajabiamila.
This latest development and the leaking of the roof of the White House section have brought to fore the plan to renovate the National Assembly complex.
In 2020, the appropriation of N37 billion for the renovation of the complex had generated uproar. However, the cost was reviewed downward to N9 billion in the subsequent supplementary budget following the outbreak of COVID19.
The Spokesperson of the House, Ben Kalu, had in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES justified the planned expenditure, noting that the recent leakage of the roof vindicated the lawmakers.
At the session on Tuesday, the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), called on the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), owners of the property, to fix the complex.
“The other time we were fairly embarrassed by the roofs that were leaking and would expect that the landlord and the owners of the structure which is the FCDA would take appropriate action to make sure that we stay in a very clement environment to do our business. Because essentially most of the time Nigerians misread the occupants to be the person responsible for the structure.
“So if you look around you find out that this structure is heavily challenged apart from the cooling system. So I think in addition to that, appropriate action should be taken by the FCT administration to make adequate repairs and maintain the structure.”
The Speaker consequently directed Mr Akabueze to “write a formal letter to the Permanent Secretary enumerating these issues. This building belongs not to the National Assembly but the FCT and they should make it conducive for us.”
Earlier, the Speaker had announced that the debate on the 2022 appropriation would commence on Wednesday.