Senators, Reps set to resume plenary in newly remodelled chambers

0
187

By Olugbenga Salami

Ahead of April 23 resumption date from the Easter and Eid-el-Fitr celebrations by members of the National Assembly, the newly remodelled main hallowed chambers in the Senate and House of Representatives are now ready for plenary by the lawmakers.

Specifically, the senators and honourable members would be vacating the present temporary chambers for the main ones as from next week Tuesday as earlier promised by the Visible Construction Company Nigeria Limited, handling the renovation work of both chambers of the National Assembly.

This is coming after 19 months of holding plenary sessions at the temporary chambers since September 2022 by lawmakers in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Hon. Akin Rotimi Jnr, and the Clerk to the Senate, Barrister Chinedu Akubueze confirmed the planned movement to the main chambers in separate written announcements made penultimate week on the change in resumption date by lawmakers from their ongoing recess.

Hon. Rotimi, who is the chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, in the official announcement dated April 4, 2024 to the honourable members, cited the need to resume plenary at the renovated and reconfigured main chamber, as reason for the postponement in line with the general wish of the lawmakers.

“The House of Representatives wishes to inform the public and stakeholders of the rescheduling of the resumption date from the ongoing recess, originally slated for Tuesday, April 16, 2024, to Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

“This adjustment is necessary to accommodate the completion of renovations to the main chamber of the House of Representatives to ensure its readiness for plenary sessions, henceforth,” he stated.

Two days after, the Clerk to the Senate also issued a statement, postponing resumption of plenary by the Senate from April 16 to 23, 2024.

Akubueze ‘s statement reads in part: “Distinguished Senators are hereby invited to note that the resumption of the plenary sitting of the Senate, which was scheduled for Tuesday, 16th April, 2024, has been postponed to Tuesday 23rd April, 2024”

It would be recalled that ahead of the projects delivery, the Site Engineer of Visible Construction, Tajudeen Olanipekun, had early last month informed journalists covering the Senate, that the two main chambers, would be ready for use by both the Senate and the House of Representatives in April this year.

Olanipekun’s assurance on delivery of the fully transformed and reconfigured hallowed chambers to management of the National Assembly, coincided with call by the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, to the Clerk to the National Assembly, CNA, Alhaji Sani Magaji Tambawal that both the Senate and the House of Representatives, want to move to their main chambers as soon as possible after close to two years of using temporary ones.

In carrying out the subtle marching order, the construction firm in the last five weeks has carried out the required finishings on
the upgraded and reconfigured hallowed chambers fixed with state-of-the-art chairs, parliamentary equipments, appliances and extended sitting terraces.

Physically, the entire ambience of the space in and around the hallowed chambers have been transformed, just as barricades used to restrict movements at the foyer have been removed.

The Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, had in March 2021 awarded a N30billion renovation contract to Visible Construction Limited to rehabilitate critical segments of the National Assembly complex, which are almost completed now.

Some of the critical segments are the office buildings housing the office accommodation for the senators and honourable members, watertightness of the roof of the complex, the cooling system, replacement of lifts that are inoperable in the White House as well as in the House of Representatives and in the new Senate Wing among others.