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Was N37bn approved for renovation of National Assembly Complex?

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ON TUESDAY, June 22, 2021, the media reported that the roof of the National Assembly Complex in Nigeria was leaking and the building flooded following a rainfall.

video of cleaners scooping water from the floor of the complex was also shared on Twitter.

These reports generated reactions on social media with a number of people stating the National Assembly Complex got  N37bn for its renovation.

Reacting to one of the reports, a Twitter user Morris Monye [@Morris_Monye] stated that a sum of N37 billion was approved and paid in 2020 for the National Assembly to be renovated.

Monye tweeted “For context, N37,000,000,000.00 (Thirty seven Billion naira only) was approved and paid in 2020 for the National Assembly complex to be renovated. Nigerians shouted and shouted back then on Twitter and forgot after a month.”

Another Twitter user Wale Adetona [@iSlimfit] also tweeted that the building was leaking less than a year after it got N37 billion  for renovation.

He wrote, “What happened to the N37bn approved to renovate the National Assembly in 2020? It’s not even a year yet and the structure is leaking when rain falls. This country truly deserves a YouTube channel.”

A Twitter user misleading reaction to a news report.
A Twitter user misleading reaction to a news report.

The Claim

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The sum of N37 billion  was approved for the renovation of the National Assembly Complex in 2020.

The Findings

Findings by the FactCheckHub showed that the claim was misleading.

In 2019, the President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari approved  N37 billion for the renovation of the National Assembly Complex.

This sum, included in the 2020 budget, was different from the N128 billion allocated for the National Assembly in the 2020 budget.

The N37 billion was included in the 2020 budget of the Federal Capital Development Administration (FCDA).

However, in 2020, the Federal Government slashed the initially approved budget allocation by 75 per cent, thereby reducing the N37 billion to N9.25bn.

This, therefore, means it was misleading to claim that the the amount for the renovation of the renovation of complex was N37 billion since it had been reduced to N9.25bn.

National Assembly’s response

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The chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs Ajibola Basiru in statement clarified that N37bn is not the sum approved for the renovation of the National Assembly Complex.

Basiru said “While it is true that an initial appropriation of the above stated sum was made due to the decaying nature of the complex which has not witnessed any major maintenance or overhauling since construction, the said amount was reduced to N9 billion after the breakout of COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even with this reduction, the sum of N9 billion or any amount is yet to be cash backed or released to the National Assembly. None of this amount is even appropriated for the National Assembly bureaucracy or its leadership,” he stated.

The National Assembly complex houses the Senate and the House of Representatives chambers.

The Verdict

The claim that N37 billion was approved for the renovation of the National Assembly Complex in 2020 was MISLEADING. This was  because the N37 billion, which was initially approved, was eventually slashed to N9.25 billion.

'Niyi works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via [email protected] You can as well follow him on Twitter via @niyi_oyedeji.

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