The multi-billion naira National Library headquarters building remains derelict

DESPITE the statement by the Federal Government in June 2021 that the completion of the derelict National Library of Nigeria (NLN) headquarters building, worth billions of naira, would be taken over by the Trust Fund for the higher education (TETFund), work has not yet started on the site.

Education Minister Malam Adamu Adamu had revealed that more than 50 billion naira was needed to complete the National Library edifice which had been under construction since 2006, some 16 years ago.

Investigations by the Nigerian Tribune revealed that the contract for the construction of the National Library Headquarters located at Plot 35 in the Central Business District, Abuja was awarded to Messrs. Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) in 2006 at a cost of N8.590 billion. The project was to be completed within three to four years.

However, some 16 years later, contractors are not on site despite the building being nearly 44% complete. It was also found that the project, at the stage where it is currently abandoned, has gobbled up around N11 billion and due to inflation and cost of materials, the contract has been reviewed several times.

Adamu, while noting that a whopping N50 billion was needed to complete the NLN headquarters, a project that had been abandoned since 2013, cited lack of funding as the reason for its abandonment.

According to him, in 2013, under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, the cost of the project was increased to N18 billion, but the works were however stopped at the end of 2013. due to insufficient funding.

Adamu said, “In the recent past, I have received a number of inquiries from members of the press, expressing their concern over the massive ‘abandoned’ National Library headquarters here in Abuja.

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“Let me say unequivocally that the Buhari administration has made it clear that it will not abandon any project initiated by a previous administration deemed to be in the public interest.

“We have set up a committee to evaluate the project. This committee submitted a 50 billion naira bill. We forwarded the report to the Public Procurement Office for further assessment. The BPP’s recommendation will be forwarded to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for consideration.

Meanwhile, the Director of Press and Public Relations of the Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Ben BemGoong, had issued a statement on June 28, 2021, in which he stated that: “The Federal Government has approved the taking into responsible for funding the National Library project through the Higher Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).

“More than 50 billion naira is needed to complete the project.

“Speaking in Abuja, when the Nigerian Library Association (NLA) headed by its President, Prof. Innocent Ekoga, paid a working visit to the Ministry, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Sonny Echono, (now retired from the federal civil service), said the critical step taken by the government is to reposition library services in the Nigerian education sector for effective service delivery.

“Echono recalled that work on the National Library has stalled for years due to insufficient funding, adding that efforts to bring in the private sector to complete the project have not yielded results.”

The new NLN Librarian and Chief Executive, Professor Chinwe Veronica Anunobi, also reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to the completion of the project, saying discussions were underway in line with the government’s directive for TETFund to take over. the completion of the project. the project.

The Nigeria Tribune audits also revealed that only N50 million was earmarked in the Federal Government Budget 2022 recently enacted by President Buhari, for the construction of the NLN building.

It was however found that prior to the directive for TETFund to take over the completion of the abandoned project, the financing plan was done in such a way that out of the 50 billion naira required to complete the project, 11 billion naira had already been spent and the remaining N39 billion. has been divided into three for the years 2021, 2022 and 2023.

NLN headquarters was tasked with looking after the consultant’s budget for 2021, 2022 and 2023 while the federal government would release money for the contractor.

Although TETFund Executive Secretary Professor Suleiman Bogoro confirmed the government’s directive for his agency to take over the construction of the NLN headquarters, it was not possible to confirm when work would begin in earnest.

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