by Dare Lawal
The hopes of Nigeria’s first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan to have a First Ladies’ Mission House built in Abuja, was dashed on Wednesday, as the senate rejected the appropriation of the sum of N4 billion for the project.
The project has been the source of much hoopla, since its inclusion in the FCT budget by the FCT minister Bala Mohammed. Most Nigerians condemned the initiative as a waste of public funds and mounted pressure on the lawmakers not to approve it . But the First lady and the FCT minister repeatedly defended it.
In the summary report of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) 2013 budget which was approved by the upper chamber, the project was cancelled altogether.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Smart Adeyemi, said in the report that: “it is worthy of note that the proposed appropriation for the construction of building for First Ladies Mission in Africa has been distributed to meet pressing needs in the area of engineering and satellite towns.” He said, “due to litigation in respect of the proposed plot of land, the money cannot be accessed this year.”
He noted that it is not proper for the Senate to appropriate for a land that is not available.
The Senate approved the sum of N259, 649,520,705 as the 2013 budget for the FCT.