Princess-Ekwi Ajide, Abuja
Federal Government of Nigeria has promised to complete the National Library in 21 months as the country’s depository.
The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, gave the assurance, when he led some Heads of Agencies in the sector on a tour of the project, to ascertain the condition of the project.
The National Library, which has eleven floors consisting of two basement floors, a ground floor, and eight upper floors as well as a perimeter fence, gate, gate houses, internal roads and other external works was first awarded on March 11, 2006 with the initial contract sum of eight billion, five hundred and ninety million, two hundred and twenty six thousand, three hundred and ninety three naira (N8,590,226,393.00) and was expected to span through 22 months, has remained uncompleted till date.
The project was re-awarded in March 2010 for 21 months at the cost of forty nine billion, six hundred and forty three million, three hundred and thirty seven thousand, nine hundred and sixty Naira, thirty two kobo (N49,643,337,960.32)
Based on calculations with the current exchange rate at seven hundred and seventy four naira to a dollar (N774) the cost of completing this in 21 months as promised by Professor Mamman, stands at one hundred and sixteen billion, one hundred and ten million Naira and no longer one hundred and fifty million naira in 2010, when the exchange rate was at 163 per dollar.
Addressing journalists after a tour of the building, Minister Mamman said that the decision to complete the project is because President Tinubu, does not tolerate uncompleted projects anywhere and is determined to deliver on what will bring progress and development to the nation.
He said the contractor in charge of the project will return to site soonest to deliver the national edifice for the good of the citizenry adding that the project is too important for Nigerians.
The Minister refused to comment on the cost of completing the project as according to him, it will be worked out.
The National Librarian, Professor. Chinwe Anunobi, said issues of bureaucratic bottleneck hindered the completion of the project since it was awarded in 2006 but also assured that work will commence immediately.