Senators and House of Representatives members have been notified by the office of the Clerk to the National Assembly to relocate from their main chambers to temporary venues for plenary as the contractor handling the renovation of the National Assembly Complex has commenced work.
A statement issued on Friday by Special Adviser on media and labour to the Clerk Adesoro Austen stated that as the renovation commenced Senators will temporarily conduct plenary at Committee Room 022 on the ground floor of the New Senate Building, while House of Representatives members will use spacious Committee rooms on the ground floor of its new wing as plenary venue.
According to the statement the contractor has 16 months to execute the job with alternative arrangement in place for plenary.
“Members of House of Representatives are expected to utilize the halls on the first and second floor of the House of Representatives new building.
“There is also a plan to use teleconferencing technology to link all lawmakers who may not be able to find seat at the Committee Room
on to the ground floor.
The statement indicated that the contractor handling the renovation project officially took over the Complex on Wednesday.
In his brief remarks at the official handing over ceremony of the Complex to the contractor handling the project, the Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engr. Shehu Hadi Ahmad, represented by the acting Director of Public Buildings, Arc. Adebowale Ademo, listed the scope of work to be carried during the renovation.
Adebowale said: “The renovation will comprise the two plenary chambers of the National Assembly as well as the office buildings housing the office accommodation for the Senators and Honourable Members of the House of Representatives.
“The scope of what is to be done in this phase one of the works entails making the roof water tight. There have been several inconveniences of roof leakages experienced in the past and one of the major areas of attention is to redress the roof leakages and make the entire roof of the White House water tight.
“Next is the cooling system. Some of the Committee Rooms and central lobbies have faced challenges of temperature regulation because some of the chillers are out of service.
“The contract entails replacement of some of the chillers and rehabilitation of those that are in good condition to make them to work properly.
“We also have as part of the scope the replacement of lifts that are inoperable in the White House as well as in the House of Representatives and in the new Senate Wing.
“Beyond that also, work will be done in the toilet areas to make sure the plumbing and the equipment and fittings are in proper condition.
“In addition, work will be done to address challenges of the extra low voltage equipment, the public address system and the fire safety installations.
“These works will entail rehabilitation and upgrading to make them state of the art and ready for use looking at today’s technology.
“Most critical of all, in terms of what needs to be done, is the reconfiguration and the upgrading of the two chambers of the National Assembly.
“This reconfiguration works involve extending the sitting terraces to provide more comfortable sitting and also provide a worktop where the legislators can sit and work in a very comfortable manner.
“Beyond that also, the entire ambience of the space is going to be transformed and we are hopeful that at the end of the works, we will have a new and very efficient working environment for our Distinguished Senators as well as the respected Honourable members of the House of Representatives.
“In a nutshell, this covers the essential scope of what needs to be done and what is going to be done during this renovation works.
“Like I said earlier, it is a major intervention. It is comprehensive and the intention is to restore this building to its original status and also to upgrade it so that the facilities and equipment therein will match any in any parliament in the world.”
On his part, the Clerk to the National Assembly, Arc. Ojo Olatunde Amos, who was represented by the Secretary Estate and Works, Engr. Bashir Yero, said the National Assembly Complex will remain a place to be in terms of legislators’ comfort after the renovation.
The CNA said the renovation of the National Assembly was long overdue as the new face of the complex when completed will give a physiological boost to lawmakers, staff and visitors including Parliamentary reporters.
“We believe by the time this project is completed, the National Assembly will certainly be a place to be in terms and our legislators will be more than happy to have an enhanced environment, especially the chambers.
“What we have in chambers has not been too good for legislative comfort. You see the legislators having to go out once in a while and then they have to disturb a lot of their colleagues along that roll.
But with what we have now in the review that will not happen again. The seats will not only be comfortable for them, there is going to be a connection to the internet.
“Eventually, it is going to be a mini-work station so that while they are seated in the chamber they will be virtually connected to the entire world and by this we can match any parliament in the world.”
The Managing Director of the firm handling the renovation, Messrs Visible Construction Company Nigeria Limited, Olalekan Adebiyi, said the work would be done speedily.
Adebiyi said: “We are ready to move with good speed. We are ready to work day and night because we know that challenges ahead.
“Everything we have to do, talking about the chambers, we have to do fast considering the fact that the legislators have to vacate the main chambers to a temporary place for us to work.
“So we know what it is and we are ready to face the challenge and do whatever we have to do very fast so that we can deliver in a good time. So we are ready.”