Ekwermadu Assures on Completion on NILS Permanent Site

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu has assured that the permanent site for the National Institute for Legislative Studies, NILS, would be completed soon.

He gave the indication on Monday during an assessment tour of the phased-funded N52 billion project located along the Musa Yar’Adua Way (Airport Road).

Senator Ekweremadu who was conducted around the massive project by the Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria, Engr. Detlev Lubasch in the company of the Director-General of NILS, Dr. Ladi Hamalai and the Abuja Divisional Manager of the construction company, Engr. Hartmut Warnecke, said the project could not meet the April 2015 completion target due to shortfalls in funding.

He nevertheless emphasised that it remained the vision of the National Assembly to not only complete the project soon, but also make it self-sustaining in the next few years.

The Senator who doubles as the Chairman of NILS’ Governing Council said: “This is the major project of the National Assembly for the past few years as it is exclusively funded from our budget. So, in addition to our overhead costs, this is exactly what has been taking the chunk of the National Assembly over several fiscal years.

“But, this Institute is not only going to help us save more money when completed, but it will also bring in foreign exchange as the hub of parliamentary training in Africa “.

“We used to train a lot of our parliamentarians and parliamentary staff abroad, but we felt it is not sustainable. So, we are beginning to domesticate our trainings. For instance, we are working with the Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC to set up a centre here. We are already working with the University of Benin and the National Open University on various Degree programmes in legislative studies.

He added: “As you can see for yourselves, what we have here is a state-of-the-art facility that will have an ultramodern library in the like of the US Library of Congress with both superb audio-visual facilities. There are also various ICT-driven classroom blocks that can take between 150 to 250 students. The project comprises aesthetics buildings, student hostels, staff quarters, including a small clinic”.

The Deputy President of the Senate observed that building the capacity of the parliamentarians was paramount to the survival of democracy in Nigeria and the rest of Africa, hence the need to ensure a sustained training.

He said legislators could not effectively oversight the executive unless they had the requisite capacity to do so.

Senator Ekweremadu who expressed satisfaction at the level of work at the site, described the project as one of its kind in Africa.

“It is going to be Nigeria’s contribution to intellectual, good governance, and the development of democracy in Africa, especially in the area of the legislature”, he enthused.

Uche Anichukwu
Special Adviser (Media) to the Deputy President of the Senate