Senate flays FG’s failure to complete National Library 11 years after

Senator Gbenga Ashafa represents Lagos East

The Senate in a resolution yesterday urged the Federal Government to prioritize the funding and completion of the permanent site of the National Library of Nigeria in order to mitigate losses accruable to the project.

The Senate also resolved to mandate its committee on education to meet with the Ministers of Education and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the National Librarian and Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of the National Library to adopt an appropriation strategy that would ensure the completion of the project starting from the 2018 Appropriation Bill.

The upper legislative chamber urged the government to be more strategic in the award of contracts with a view to embarking on the ones that can be adequately financed to the tune of its budgetary appropriation.

The senate decision came on the heels of a motion raised at the plenary by Senator Gbenga Ashafa, who represents Lagos East on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The motion was titled: ‘The preventable economic loss and national embarrassment arising from the failure of the Federal Government to complete the National Library” Ashafa flayed the Federal Government’s inability to complete the National Library building project 11 years after the contract was awarded.

The motion, which was forwarded to The Guardian, also highlighted, amongst others, the monumental economic loss that had become the lot of the nation due to government’s failure to complete, the project within the stipulated time frame.

According to the lawmaker, “The near zero premium placed on knowledge and intellectual capital in Nigeria, and how much damage had been wrought on the learning and development culture of the Nigeria’s human capital was lamented.”

The motion also includes detailed insight on the fact that the project was initially awarded for the sum of N8.59 billion with a timeline of 22 months but due to the insufficient funding for the project and a series of reviews scope, it suffered a huge setback, which spiraled into other avoidable pitfalls”.

He said the continuous failure to properly fund the project within the specified period would cause the government both short term and long term financial losses modestly estimated to be in the range of 40 to 50 billion naira and that there was the danger of more losses in the long run if funding challenges persists.

Other concerns raised in the motion include the fact that the National Library of Nigeria still operates from a rented building after 57 years of independence and trillions of naira spent on it.

According to Ashafa, “Of all the challenges confronting Nigeria failure to build human capacity through quality education is one of the biggest one and it is high time the country must do everything possible to improve on the quality of its citizens through standard education.”

Senator Emmanuel Paulker, who represents Bayelsa Central, applauded the motion, stressing the need for government to speed up the project and focus more on capital projects that enhance national and collective learning and development, he urged.



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