The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has announced the closure of the two chambers of the National Assembly for a period of 12 months to allow for expansion, upgrading and renovation of existing structures estimated to cost N40, 238,899,499.85.
The FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, disclosed this yesterday while briefing journalists shortly after the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo that the renovation job had been given to Julius Berger.
According to the minister, members of the National Assembly had been relocated to the large committee and conference rooms inside the premises of the assembly complex to carry on with the normal legislative duties for the period the renovation work would be completed.
According to Greenbarge Reporters, he said the project was under the national priority of the government, stressing that it had been captured in the Abuja master plan and in the budget.
"Of course, we are going to close down the two chambers of the National Assembly for a period of 12 months and we are lucky we have already provided large committee rooms that will be used during the period for the parliament to continue its work.
"The contract is to cost N40.2 billon and it will take 12 months to complete," the FCT Minister said.
He explained that the project was specifically for the construction of Phase III Part III and upgrading of the two chambers of the National Assembly complex, adding that it would involve the provision of library, budget office, printing press, clinic, restaurants, banquet hall, places of worship, plenary hall (auditorium), TV/radio/press facilities, fitness room, administrative offices, technical rooms, and meeting rooms.
Mohammed said the upgrading of the two chambers would also ensure the installation of new electronic voting system.
The Minister of Information and Supervising Minister of Defence, Labaran Maku, at the briefing disclosed that FEC approved a memo brought by Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, for the establishment of National Petroleum Laboratory in Owerri, Imo State, to serve as a testing outfit for all petroleum products being imported into the country.
He said the laboratory would also help detect such products being stolen from Nigeria or those that might pollute the Nigerian soil.
The council also deliberated on the draft bills on metrological sector and that of National Migration Policy which were all subjected to redrafting committees.
Also approved by FEC was the acquisition and purchase of an office building for Petroleum Equalisation Fund Management Board at Plot 542, Cadastral Zone, B09, Kado District along Mabushi Expressway, Abuja at a cost of N3, 630,000,000.
The office building is a two-winged fully developed office complex on six floors with basement, maintenance block and gate house.
The board has operated from rented quarters since 1998.
FEC also held special session for the late South African President, Nelson Mandela devoting special time during its meeting to pay tribute.
In his tribute, Sambo said South Africa and indeed the continent had lost its greatest son who dedicated his entire life to the service of humanity.
According to him, Mandela was great visionary, philanthropist and politician and anti apartheid crusader whose entire life was devoted to the struggle for the equality among all races and nations.