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Fiscal Rascality: Rivers approves N19.6bn for reconstruction of ‘destroyed’ House of Assembly Complex

Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State

*Roland Obed-Whyte, Permanent Secretary of the Rivers State Ministry of Special Projects, discloses the contract for the reconstruction of the demolished Rivers State House of Assembly Complex has been awarded to Monier Construction Company Nigeria Limited at N19.6 billion for completion in months

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

In what some have described as financial recklessness and misappropriation of taxpayers’ money in relation to the concept of Fiscal Rascality Index (FRI) in Nigeria, the Rivers State Government has approved N19.6 billion for the reconstruction of the State Assembly Chambers, which the “state agents” reportedly demolished several months in the heat of the festering political crisis engulfing the oil-rich South-South state.

Chukwudi Nelson, Governor’s Spokesperson, who disclosed this development in a statement issued Friday, June 7, 2024, said the State Executive Council approved the sum at a meeting presided by Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State, in the Government House, Port Harcourt, the state capital.

The demolished Rivers State House of Assembly Complex

ConsumerConnect reports the Fiscal Rascality Index relates to how the Nigerian Government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) “seek to promote prudent public financial management” as it concerns running of the country’s economy through fiscal rules for inclusive development.

It is recalled the Rivers State House of Assembly Complex was demolished about two months after a section was bombed earlier, at the height of an alleged impeachment move on Governor Fubara by Chief Nyesom Wike-backed state lawmakers.

The governor unilaterally, later relocated the sitting of the “loyal legislators” to the Government House, in Port Harcourt, where he first presented an N800 billion 2024 Appropriation Bill to four lawmakers of the 27-member Assembly for express approval, according to report.

Rivers State has been enmeshed in a political crisis because of the battle over the control of political structure in the oil-rich state between Wike and Fubara.

The crisis technically, has battered the state legislature, splitting the lawmakers into two factions —one with 27 members loyal to Wike, a former governor of the state, while the other, with four members, is loyal to Governor Fubara.

Why fresh fund for reconstruction of Rivers Assembly: Information Commissioner

Justifying the necessity to re-appropriate money to reconstruct the Assembly Complex, the Rivers State, however, has attributed the demolition of the complex to “structural defects arising from explosion and fire outbreak.”

Joseph Johnson, Honourable Commissioner for Information, in Rivers State, reportedly said the incident had rendered the building unfit for human use.

The Commissioner noted there were visible cracks on the walls, and the entire structure looked frail and unsafe for legislative business.

Professional advice was sought in connection with the integrity of the building, after Governor Fubara inspection visit to determine the level of damage, Johnson reportedly stated.

He added: “After the assessment of the integrity of the complex, experts warned the government that continuing to use the building in its present state would be disastrous.

“The government had tried all cost-saving measures towards the repair of the complex until it bowed to the superior view of rebuilding the complex to a more befitting edifice.”

Contractors to reconstruct Assembly in 9 months, says Perm Sec., Special Projects

Explain the award of the contract for reconstruction of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Roland Obed-Whyte, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Special Projects, at the State Executive Council meeting Friday, told reporters that contract for the reconstruction of the Rivers Assembly Complex had been awarded to Monier Construction Company Nigeria Limited (MCC) at the cost of N19.6 billion with nine months’ completion duration.

Obed-Whyte said: “This Rivers State House of Assembly Building Complex is made up of about 34 ensuite offices, two-storey building with elevator, gallery, meeting rooms and conference hall.

“It also includes the renovation and refurbishing of other existing structures within the House of Assembly Complex. It also includes the provision of ambulance and other external works.”

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