25 December 2012

Nigeria: Presidency Defends Cost of VP's Residence

Abuja — The Presidency has thrown some light on the construction of a new residence for the vice-president.

This is coming in the wake of the disclosure by the National Assembly that an extra N7 billion was requested by the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to complete the residence, after N9 billion had already been expended on it.

According to a statement by Vice-President Namadi Sambo's spokesman, Alhaji Sani Umar, who described the controversy as "unnecessary," the construction of the new house was in order considering that the present residence has served as a guest house for years.

The statement said the decision to erect a new structure wastherefore justified in order to put in place a befitting abode for the current vice-president and his successors.

Umar maintained that the 2012 FCT budget, in which the money for the vice-president's residence project was captured, was not padded or inflated.

He also pointed out that Vice-President Sambo does not have a hand in the matter and has in no way influenced the direction the job will take.

The statement from the vice-president's office read: "Our attention has been drawn to the unnecessary controversies the building of the permanent residence of the vice-president is generating in the media. Having taken stock of issues raised overtime, we find it necessary to clarify and lay them to rest.

"Aguda House, the current temporary residence of the vice-president was designated in the Abuja Master plan as a presidential guest house and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), which is saddled with the responsibility of providing accommodation to deserving government officials, decided to ensure that it implements its master plan by locating the permanent residence of the vice-president to its present position and building a befitting accommodation for any Nigerian vice-President.

"It should be known that the concept and choice of a residential accommodation was purely by the professionals in the FCT Administration and neither has he ever interfered with the budgetary requirements or cost associated with the constructions.

"It should interest members of the public to note that in the FCT's 2012 appropriation, not a single kobo was included in the budget for the residence.

"It should therefore be carefully understood and appreciated that the vice-president has nothing to do with the construction of the new residence in question, as it is not his personal property but the residence of any Nigerian vice-president. He should therefore not be connected with the expenditure of its construction."

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