Completion of 17-year-old abandoned National Library a priority -Education minister

Like his predecessors, the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, on Tuesday vowed that the 17-year-old abandoned National Library will be completed and inaugurated by the administration of President Bola Tinubu.

The minister made the vow during a tour of the edifice in the company with the National Librarian and some senior directors of the Federal Ministry of Education.

The PUNCH reports that the contract of the Library, which lies fallow on Plot 35, Cadastral Business District, in the Federal Capital Territory at a time the building serving as the temporary National Library rots away, was awarded to Reynolds Construction Company in 2006 during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to the tune of N8.9bn with an initial completion period of four years.

The firm was said to have requested an upward review of the contract because of the decision of the Federal Government to incorporate new technology into the building. The administration of former President Umaru Yar’Adua then approved an upward review to the tune of N18bn.

Seventeen years after the contract was first awarded, however, the building has yet to be completed.

The Federal Capital Territory Administration had at a time raised the alarm that criminals had turned the uncompleted buildings in the capital city into hideouts.

Addressing journalists after the tour of the Library, the minister said, “This project is too important for Nigerians and we have this project uncompleted for close to 20 years. We know the importance of a library not to talk about a national library.

“So, the decision is that we have a President who does not tolerate uncompleted projects anywhere. He is determined to deliver on what will bring progress and development and the national library is one of the major edifices anywhere in the world.

”So, the decision is that everyone involved must come back to the site,” he said.

When asked about the cost required to complete the project, the minister said though there were issues surrounding the project that were being worked out, everyone involved would come together to review the cost.

“There are some issues here and there but the project will be completed in about 21 months.

”But we are urging them (the construction company) to deliver the project earlier because we’ve dragged it for too long and the project is too important for it to be dragged any further.

”So whatever obstacles in the project, we are determined to go over it and attend to it so it doesn’t become an obstacle,” he said.


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