Cost of Completing Abandoned National Library Abuja Project Climbs to N100b, from N8.59b | The Guardian Nigeria News

• As TETFund takes over
Sixteen years after the Federal Government awarded the construction contract for the National Library Headquarters project in Abuja to the Reynolds construction company, the contract variation to complete the derelict complex has jumped to N100 billion.

In 2006, the cost of the project was set at N8.59 billion by the government, with a completion period of 22 months. In 2013, the amount reached N18 billion and the project was stopped due to insufficient funding.

Two years later, the project was revised to N38.8 billion by key stakeholders and the construction company submitted a new N78 billion bill for completion, which was also accepted by all parties. .

Additionally, in 2019, Education Minister Adamu Adamu said that they were “seeking alternative sources of funding, especially from a special intervention funding window to complete the abandoned project.”

Adamu also explained that the lack of funding had been the challenge of the delay, in addition to fluctuations in exchange rates, which required a regular upward revision of the contract amount and the redesign of the entire building, among other variables. .

Recently, the government approved the assumption and funding of the multi-billion library building by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND). The investigation shows that there had been no signs of activity on the site.

The Guardian collected that “the line ministry has forwarded the proposal to the Office of Public Procurement for further assessment, and recommendations will be submitted to the Federal Executive Council for consideration. We will seek funding.

“Mr. President is concerned about the delay, so TETFund has been involved to take over the project. The National Library of Nigeria came into effect in the mid-1960s with the enactment of the National Library Act 1964, was later superseded by Law No. 29 of 1970.”

“Before the passing of the National Library Act, a series of educational lectures conducted in Ibadan served as the intellectual basis for the creation of a government-funded network of libraries to provide citizens with accessibility of educational materials.

“A government advisory committee was created later on the need to develop a local knowledge repository. It was the first major official body that called for a national library as part of its recommendations. The government accepted the requests and took the necessary steps to build a national library.

“The committee was charged with finding a way to assist the government in highlighting the intellectual underpinnings of its policies, creating a national bibliographic center and providing an arena for the promotion of knowledge.”

The National Librarian, Professor Chinwe Veronica Anunobi, told the Guardian that “the abandoned National Library is a reflection of the place Nigeria holds for education, teaching and research.”

Anunobi said, “It’s not about facilities but how teachers and learners are exposed to the resources available. An important learning facility in the language of education is the national library center. These are the results of teaching and research, which are housed in the library.

“The national library is what congress life is like in the United States, in the United Kingdom (British Library), in the library of Alexandria in Egypt, in the Italian library and in South Africa, but unfortunately the giant of Africa does not reflect on its national library,” she said.

The National Librarian noted that “the contract was awarded in 2006 but has not been completed to date. “Thus, we cannot actualize our mandate and our resources are scattered all over Nigeria. We guard our national heritage at the University of Ibadan. They reject our items due to space.

“In Lagos, Herbert Macaulay built a library by the British Council where we are today. We have what we call a vault where we store documents from the colonial, pre-colonial and post-independence era. The environment is not conducive and they are spoiled.

She further explained that Nigerians are the most prolific in research projects: “We have evidence to back this up. Knowledge is quantum produced in all regions of the country. People come in droves to choose the International Standard Serial Book (ISSB) and the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) by the thousands.

“We distribute over 1,000 ISSNs and ISSBs each year to those who publish books, articles and journals. Now where are we going to store them and they are perishables. »

“Yet we cannot afford to lose these important documents. Unfortunately, the national library building in Abuja, the federal capital, is not completed. We have prototype libraries in 33 states, but we don’t have any in Anambra, Kebbi, Delta and Zamfara,” the National Librarian lamented.

According to her, “Last year, we hosted four Ambassadors, Public Affairs from the United States, Bangladesh, Bulgaria and China; they came here to see the giant of Africa and its national library, which is not yet complete.

“Bangladesh has dedicated a corner of its library to works from Nigeria. At Bulgari, they have our heritage in their library, where people can look at our works. Mr. President spoke about the national library and it went well.

She recalled, “All over the world, people are waiting and watching. People have called from the United States, Canada and South Africa to find out if the project is finished. The President approved TETFund to support the project.

The Director of Library Services, Mr. Barnabas Awunandu said that although the Federal Government is interested in completing the National Library Headquarters, there has been a lack of funds and that is the challenge.

Awunandu also added that the Development Control under the Federal Capital Territory Administration and the Federal Ministry of Education have met on the issue, saying, “We have made an estimate for the completion of the library project. “.

On his part, Comrade Adetunji Sanni, from the National Library of Nigeria, regretted that the construction works, which started from 8.59 billion naira, now cost the federal government double the amount expected to complete them. . The current housing rent is N300 million per year.

Sanni said the money should be used to renovate parts of the abandoned structure to house some departments, adding that currently 29 branches are on nationwide strike pushing for a year of back dues and the like.

A property developer in Abuja, Adamu Kasim, said the national library is not just a repository of documents, publications and books of national importance, but a monument, lamenting that the building was abandoned due to a poor budget provision and non-compliance with certain contractual obligations. .

He said it will be difficult to determine what it will take to complete and store the monument without resorting to the original design and operational plans.

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