National Assembly assets lose insurance cover over alleged non-settlement of N2b premium
– Chides Smart Adeyemi for anti-democratic remark
As the controversy rages over the N37 billion voted for the renovation of the National Assembly complex, it, however, emerged yesterday that the management had allegedly lost insurance cover for its entire buildings in which over N73 billion had been invested since 1999.
The same fate had equally befallen all public servants in the federal legislature as well as other insurable assets like motor vehicles, machinery, and equipment.
The first phase of the National Assembly was built in 1998 at a cost of nearly $35.18 million (N12.7 billion). In 2007, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the award of the construction of the complex’s phase 3, part 2 at the cost of N22,980,679,935.
In the 2020 budget, N37 billion was appropriated for the renovation of the ‘White House’ part of the building that accommodates the chambers of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
It was learned that the apex lawmaking institution lost insurance cover for its buildings, vehicles, and staff because it had been unable to settle over N2 billion insurance premium liability.
A document sourced from authorities in the National Assembly detailed the liability to date as: “Senate vehicles – N716,660,142.60; House of Representatives vehicles – N430,357,518.63; Management vehicles – N170,964,052.50; Group Life Insurance Scheme (Staff) – 736,356,157. 10. Total: N2,054,337,870.83.”
The text added: “Technically, this entails that we no longer have insurance cover based on the policy of ‘no premium, no cover’.”
The matter, according to sources, has in the very recent past been raised before the body of principal officers of the Assembly but though yet to be addressed.
The paper, which drew the attention of the principal officers to the development, revealed how the failure to provide for the premiums in past budgets had exposed the institution to danger.
However, the Senate has rebuked Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC, Kogi West) for declaring that “military rule is better than democracy.”
While contributing to the debate on a bill seeking to amend the 1999 Constitution to create the Electoral Offences Tribunal, Adeyemi had said: “One can be tempted to say that military government is better than a democratic government.”
He went further to lament the misdeeds that had taken place in the current dispensation, submitting that “there can not be democracy in any nation where we do not have free and fair elections.”
But Senate President Ahmad Lawan, who presides over the plenary, interjected to remind Adeyemi that, “we are in a democracy. I am not sure if this is a popular position in this chamber.”