They queried why the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government will approve such a substantial amount for the complex renovation.
Akin Alabi, a member of the House Representatives, representing Egbeda/Ara Federal Constituency of Oyo State, condemned why the government is expending such amount on renovation and not schools or hospitals.
“I see no reason why we should spend N37b renovating the National Assembly. Yes, we need an upgrade on some aspects like the electronic systems (sound system, voting system, etc) as they are outdated but N37b? No. Let’s spend that on our schools and hospitals.”
Alabi is a pro-people lawmaker who had also criticised the government on VAT increase via his Twitter account.
Alabi's colleague, Bamidele Salam, a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) representing Ede North/Ede South/Egbedore/Ejigbo Federal Constituency of Osun State described the renovation as a misplacement of priority.
Another lawmaker, Hon Ochilegor Idagbo, a member representing Bekwarra/Obanliku/Obudu Federal Constituency and Chairman Local Content, Federal House of Representatives, said, “I don’t believe that the complex needs any renovation that would cost the country N37bn. We need more upgraded classrooms and hospitals to cater to the Nigerian people.”
While Hon. Armaya'u Abdulkadir, member representing Dutsin-ma/Kurfi Federal Constituency, Katsina State, asked the government to channel the fund for proper use.
"...That my conscience is not in line with this development. N37 Billion is a huge sum that can transform thousands of lives if channeled into proper use,” he tweeted.
As the debate continues over the proposed N37 billion for the renovation of the National Assembly complex, Nigerians are asking their lawmakers to make a stand on the issue.
What the N37 billion can do
According to the 2020 budget estimates, the renovation fee can fund critical infrastructure and human capital projects. Among them are N1.67 billion provisioned for the Hawul inter-basin water transfer dam project, N700 million for Zungeru Wushishi Water Supply, N1.6 billion for Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, and N1 billion for Special Intervention for North East and IDPs - Potable Water.
Part of it can also fund a N3 billion Security Infrastructure in 104 Colleges across the country, N2 billion for take-off grant for the establishment of 6 Federal Science & Technical Colleges (FSTCs), scholarship programmes and can cater for about N1.61 billion for the payment of over 5,000 Federal Teachers Scheme Allowance.