Jonathan calls Vice President’s N14 billion house project “indefensible”
President Goodluck Jonathan Friday, turned down the request of the Federal Capital Territory Development Authority (FCDA) to spend additional N9 billion on the new official residence of Vice-President Namadi Sambo, according to reports.
The President’s actions are in line with the observation of the Senator Smart Adeyemi-led Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory that the funds request was indefensible. He also asked the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed, to keep the memo on the variation of the project, saying that the Federal Executive Council would not consider it.
For him, Sambo can get a befitting official residence within the initial scope of the already outrageous N7 billion vote for it. The original contract sum for the VP’s residence was N7 billion, but with a variation of N9 billion, the total cost of the project would have amounted to N16 billion.
Even a review by the Bureau for Public Procurement, which resulted in the reduction of the variation cost to N14 billion was not enough to save the project from incurring the ire of the Senate Committee on FCT.
The committee said that a N16 billion or N14 billion accommodation for the VP is indefensible in a country where many cannot afford three square meals per day.
The Nation, quoting a highly placed source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The President has rejected the FCDA’s request for additional N9 billion for the VP’s residence. He said there is no way the government could afford about 120 per cent variation.
“The President also directed the FCT Minister to shelve plans to forward a memo to the Federal Executive Council on the N9 billion variation. Jonathan said the decision was not personal. He said the directive affects any project involving his office.
“So, the VP’s residence will be executed within the available budget.”
The Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had opposed the additional N9 billion expenditure on Vice President Namadi Sambo’s official residence.
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Smart Adeyemi, had said: “The National Assembly is not going to appropriate additional N9 billion for the project, especially at a period in this country where people cannot eat three square meals. The N9 billion is far more than the original cost of the project.
“In Nigeria, there are many people suffering. So we have to look at budgeting in relation to the needs of the people.”