The recent approval of the sum of N2.2 billion for the construction of a new banquet hall at the Presidential Villa, Abuja has not been received well by most Nigerians. Yesterday, during the meeting of the Federal Executive Council, the large sum was approved for the construction of a new banquet hall.
According to Vanguard, the approval is part of the final set of N19.4 billion contracts for this year covering road construction, rail transportation and infrastructural development in the Federal Capital Territory.
The new banquet hall would have a capacity of 150 seats. There is already an existing hall in the Villa where national events are held. However, the proposed 150-seater hall will have walk ways, security post, hall conveniences, technical room and press briefing room.
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Muhammed, while defending the approval said that the council did so because smaller countries had befitting banquet halls in their seats of power. He added that the contract for the construction was awarded to Julius Berger, a company that is already in charge of services in the Presidential Villa.
“The second project approved by council is the building of a 150-seater Banquet Hall in the Presidential Villa.
“We noticed that it (existing hall) is inconveniencing; it is not in tandem with what is outside the country. Even smaller countries have better Banquet Halls near their Presidential residences. Of course, part of the things we are going to provide there is a 150-seater (hall) with all the facilities that will cover the walk ways, security, hall conveniences, technical room and press briefing room that are more and more enhanced so that national broadcast can be done from there.
“The contract was awarded in the sum of N2.2billion to Julius Berger because they are more familiar with the terrain in the Presidential Villa and for security reasons.”
This large amount of money approved for the construction of a 150-seater Banquet Hall sounds quite exorbitant. I don’t claim to know the current state of the existing hall in the Villa but surely, there are a lot of other things that could be done in Nigeria with N2.2 Billion!