By Haruna Salami
The Chairman Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund, Ahmad Babba Kaita has described the National Library as an eye sore and a national embarrassment to the country.
The Senator representing Katsina North stated this Friday at the 2021 budget defence of the agency before the joint Committee of both the Senate and House of Representatives.
On the National Library of Nigeria headquarters building project in Abuja, the committee frowned at how money has been appropriated to it each year since 2014, but no work has been done, adding that “the fate of the project is hanging”.
In the 2020 budget, N232 million was released for the project, but Prof. Lanre Aina, National Librarian/CE informed the committee that he has no certificate of job execution to pay as the contractor has abandoned the project. Therefore the N232 million is lying idle waiting to be returned to government treasury o. December 31, this year.
Senator Kaita “we have a National Library without a state of the art facilities, which is embarrassing to a country as big as Nigeria
“When libraries are even going digital, the ordinary local one that we can make reference to, that if there is any issue, somebody will say go to the National Library, at least your problem is solved; we don’t have that. It’s embarrassing thing.
On his part, the Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund and co-chairman, Hon. Aminu Suleiman said the documents submitted by Prof. Lanre Aina for 2020 budget performance “exerts many inquiries”.
He expressed surprise that N232 million earmarked for the main National Library project was not utilied, adding that the “parts that have to do with repairs and other sundries in the current structure and probably in the states do not provide required details of the expenditures”
Prof. Aina was therefore directed to furnish the committee with a detailed report on who handles what and whether the procurement obligations they met, the expected date of completion of those projects which were not contained in Prof. Lanre’s report. He was directed return to the committee next Thursday with the detailed report.