Former Presiding officers of the National Assembly rejected the N3 billion official quarters provided for them in Maitama extension, Abuja for security reasons, the immediate past Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha disclosed at the weekend.
Speaking with reporters at an interactive/valedictory session in Abuja, Mr. Ihedioha pointed out that the houses were not located within the Three Arms Zone, thus exposing its occupants to insecurity.
According to the former deputy speaker, members of the National Assembly could not understand why only the legislature was left out in the allocation of official houses in the Three Arms Zone, whereas top shots from the Executive and the Judiciary live within the area.
He said: “We live in private residences. But when we came in we started battling for we knew we were not going to inherit any government building, but we knew there was need for official residences for presiding officers.
“We said this is three arms zone, you must go and do everything and find land. They brought every designer and we sat down until they found the place where they are building for the presiding officers. It’s better. That is what I call the institutionalization of the legislature”.
He added: “You have residence for the President and the Vice President, their own is exclusive. Then you have the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN and his contemporaries. So, why do you want to zone out the heads of the legislature to across the road…almost close to Mpape! It’s across the road, its Mpape, after the military barracks. So why would you put us behind the military barrack, that is military confinement.
“And we said they must find a place. So we started battling. They said they had found a place, we said it was not for us, we won’t live in it. The Senate President, his deputy, the Speaker and his Deputy must live within the three-arms zone, because they are also part of government. And today, those buildings are almost completed”.
It would be recalled that the immediate past minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, told the House Committee on FCT last March that the new residences being built within the three arms zone would gulp a total of N27.1billion.
The project includes residences for the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives and their deputies.
Each residence would have a guest House, ADC’s House, Staff Quarters, Banquet Hall, Chapel, Mosque, Power House and Gate House.