The sum of N15 billion has been proposed for the construction of a new residence for the Vice President.
This was disclosed by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, on Wednesday when he appeared before a House of Representatives Committee to defend the FCT N61.5 billion 2023 Supplementary Budget.
Recall that President Bola Tinubu transmitted the N67 billion FCT supplementary budget to the National Assembly on Tuesday while seeking accelerated approval.
Following the president’s request, the lower legislative chamber quickly passed the bill for the first and second readings.
Addressing the lawmakers, Wike said the construction of a new residence for the vice president was approved in 2010 by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the cost of N7 billion but that the project was abandoned.
The minister said the current administration has opted to initiate the project’s construction, and the contractor has revised the cost to N15 billion.
According to Wike, an initial sum of N5 billion has been earmarked in the FCT supplementary budget to get the project underway.
He said: “The VP residence that was awarded in 2010 at the cost of N7 billion was abandoned.
“It is embarrassing that a country of this nature cannot, in 13 years, complete the VP’s residence. N7 billion, now the contractor is saying well, we cannot continue to do it without review.
“Now they are saying N15 billion. We have taken it upon ourselves to say that we will complete it, and Mr President will commission it by May.”
However, the lawmakers questioned the minister on why he plans to spend such an amount on building an edifice, but Wike said it is to give the vice president a “befitting residence”.
Wike said: “The current residence was built by the military — the Aguda house. The government then said look, we want to build a more befitting residence for the vice president, and that was in 2010.
“The contract was awarded at the cost of N7 billion. It is just like what we are building for the presiding officers of the national assembly — you can see that it has been abandoned because of lack of funding.
“We believe that we are going to incorporate it into our own statutory budget. Let us finish it even if they don’t want to use it.
“We are not renovating. It is a new job that was approved in 2010. We are saying that we should be able to finish it, and we will commission it in May 2023.”
Wike said N2.8 billion will be spent on publicity for the FCTA in the FCT supplementary budget.
He said: “If you look at publicity and advert, N60 million was appropriated but increased to N2.8 billion.
“Some people would ask, how come N2.8 billion? You use money to make money. When I came on board, we realised that most people don’t pay their ground rent.
“For instance, we published those applying for C of O of mass housing estates. We have gotten presidential approval to decertify C of O.”