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Two years after Buhari’s directive, multi-billion naira National Library project remains abandoned

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Few weeks to the end of the current administration, it appears that an unnecessary bureaucratic bottleneck has stalled the completion of the multi-billion-naira National Library of Nigeria (NLN) headquarters building.

Since the presidential directive in June 2021 that the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) should take over the completion of the gigantic project, contractors are yet to be mobilised to site.

Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who had conveyed the presidential directive to TETFund had disclosed that over N50 billion was needed to complete the national library edifice which had been under construction since 2006 – about 17 years ago.

The executive secretary of the TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono, however, confirmed that some money representing the first tranche of the fund needed to complete the project had been set aside by the fund over a year ago.

He also explained that the intervention agency was awaiting approval of the estimated fund for completion of the project by the Federal Executive Council  (FEC).

Echono noted that the supervising authorities, including the Federal Ministry of Education and Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCDA), have been working to conclude on all that is needed to facilitate the commencement of work on the site.

The TETFund chief noted that unless all these processes were completed with FEC approving the fund required and mobilise contractors to site, the agency would not release money for the completion of the project so as not to run afoul of the law.

Obviously steeped in an unnecessary bureaucratic bottleneck, Nigerian Tribune can report that no concrete arrangement is on ground to commence the project anytime from now except if the incoming administration after May 29 transition of power gives it urgent consideration to complete the edifice that is believed to be the biggest National Library in Africa when completed.

The contract for the construction of the National Library 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 N8.590billion.

The project was expected to be completed within three to four years.

It was also gathered that the project, at the stage it is currently abandoned, has gulped about N11billion and due to inflation and cost of materials, the contract has been reviewed several times.

Adamu, while noting that a whopping N50 billion would be required to complete the NLN headquarters, a project abandoned since 2013, cited poor funding as the reason for its abandonment.

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

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

“Let me state unequivocally that the Buhari administration has made it clear that it will not abandon any project initiated by any past administration that is adjudged to be in public interest.

“We have set up a committee to evaluate the project. This committee has submitted a bill of N50 billion. We have forwarded the report to the Bureau of Public Procurement for further appraisal. The recommendation of the BPP will be forwarded to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for consideration.”


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