Members of the House of Representatives have again expressed grave concerns over the bad state of facilities at the green chamber of the National Assembly, particularly the leaking roof and non-functional air-conditioners.
The lawmakers frowned against the situation during debate on a point of order raised by Hon. Haruna Dederi (APC, Kano) during plenary on Tuesday.
In his lead debate and while addressing Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, Hon. Dederi said: “Sir, Order 7 of the Rules of this House has given you powers to absolutely control whatever goes on here to preserve decorum. To preserve the atmosphere within which we should operate.
“We are suffocating because the place is extremely hot. In my opinion sir, we could have a way of either adjourning the business of the day or give time so that the air conditioners can be in proper shape. Whatever thing that you can do to save us from this physical situation in which we live.”
Responding, Gbajabiamila, who also frowned at the development, said: “It is a good point and it is something I just conferred with the Deputy Speaker, I think what we would do is, that is why I said read your titles and go to your prayers; we put the question; no debates and we try and run through this as quickly as we can.
“Because we have a couple of matters under consideration for the committee of the whole, which I think we should quickly address. We take this one and go straight to consideration of reports, so we can leave here.”
Consequently, the Speaker mandated the Clerk of the House, Barrister Chinedu Akabueze, to: “make sure that the AC here is working tomorrow.
“We have to begin the debate of the budget and we cannot do it under this condition. It is very important and very imperative that it is working tomorrow.”
On his part, the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon Toby Okechukwu, stressed the need to address the leaking roof of the House of Representatives Chamber.
He said: “Mr Speaker, you alluded to the inclement weather environment here and gave instructions that it should be done.
“I also want to make mention that we are also challenged infrastructurally here. The other time we were fairly embarrassed by the roofs that were leaking and would expect that the landlord and the owners of the structure which is the FCDA would take appropriate action to make sure that we stay in a very clement environment to do our business.
“Because essentially most of the time Nigerians misread the occupants to be the person responsible for the structure. So if you look around, you will find out that this structure is heavily challenged apart from the cooling system.
“So, I think in addition to that, appropriate action should be taken by the FCT Administration to make adequate repairs and maintain the structure.”
The Speaker also urged the Clerk to “write a formal letter to the Permanent Secretary enumerating these issues. This building belongs not to the National Assembly but the FCT and they should make it conducive for us.”