FG earmarks N250m for abandoned national library project

THE Federal Government has earmarked N250 million for the National Library of Nigeria (NLN) headquarters project, a multibillion naira edifice that has been abandoned since 2013.

Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu confirmed this development in Abuja when he disclosed that N250, 000, 000 has been proposed in the 2021 budget for the project.

His words: “On the National Library project, we are exploring all options, including the annual appropriation and the service-wide vote as well as private sector participation to complete the project. A total of N250, 000, 000 has been proposed in the 2021 budget for the purpose.”

Some stakeholders, however, have described this amount as a drop in the ocean, considering the work to be done to ensure completion of the project before the end of this administration.

That is, if the words of the Minister of Education would be upheld as he has promised that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari would complete the project.

Nigerian Tribune checks revealed that the contract for the construction of the NLN headquarters located on Plot 35 of the Central Business District Abuja was awarded to Messrs Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) in 2006 at the cost of N8.590 billion. The project was expected to be completed between three and four years but 15 years after, the contractors are not on site even though the building at about 44 per cent completion stage.

It was also gathered that the project at the current abandoned stage has gulped N11 billion, and because of inflation and cost of materials, the contract has been reviewed several times.

Sources said the plan of the government was to split the N39 billion fund required for the completion of the project into three years between 2021 and 2023, during which appropriation would be made in the national budget for the project.

“Fifty billion naira is needed to complete the project and since we have already spent N11 billion, the remaining N39 billion is divided into three; 2021, 2022, and 2023.”

Recall that the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, while addressing newsmen two years ago, had said that a whopping sum of N50 billion was required to complete the National Library Headquarters, Abuja, a project abandoned in 2013.

He cited poor funding as the reason for the abandonment of the project.

According to him, as of 2013 during the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan, the project cost was reviewed upward to N18 billion but work was stopped by the end of 2013 as a result of poor funding.

Adamu, however, told journalists in Abuja that apart from the National Library project, the Federal Government has been working on expansion of library services in the country, saying in 2020 alone, four new branches of the library facilities were established in Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Ebonyi and Kogi states.

He noted that arrangements have reached an advanced stage for the establishment of same in Ekiti and Anambra states.

 

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