New Telegraph

Spending N20.5bn on VP’s house, office renovation not priority –Obi

The candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 presidential election, Mr Peter Obi, yesterday condemned the Federal Government’s proposal to spend N20.5 billion on the construction of a “befitting residence” and building of a new office for Vice President Kashim Shettima in the 2024 budget. According to him, it is not a priority at the moment.

Although he said he is studying the N27.5 trillion 2024 budget presented to the National Assembly by President Bola Tinubu last week, the former Anambra State governor in his X handle expressed shock and disappointment that such a large sum of money was being allocated to the Vice President’s comfort at a time when Nigeria was facing several important challenges. He noted that the Supplementary Budget had already allocated N2.5 billion for the renovation of the VP’s residence and an additional N3 billion for the renovation of his Lagos residence, while the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Nyesom Wike has also allocated N15 billion for the construction of a new residence in Abuja.

Obi said: “If we total all these sums, we would have budgeted the sum of N20.5 billion for the housing of the VP at this critical time when we are not just the world’s poverty capital, but more people falling into poverty, with so many Nigerians not knowing where their next meal will come from. “Our health facilities have collapsed, and unemployment is skyrocketing. I am convinced that 99.9 per cent of Nigerians can only dream of living in the current residence of the VP.” He added: “Several university workers are not being paid. The salary of a professor in a Nigerian university is about N400, 000, which without removing tax is about N5 million a year. “What we have budgeted for the housing of the VP who is already luxuriously housed is the annual salary of about 3,000 professors. “This is the finance needed to develop the much-needed human capital.

“The budget of N5 billion for student loans, which is yet to be disbursed, is only a tiny percentage of the cost of the VP’s new home.” Obi said Nigeria is projecting “to use four times the amount for educating all Nigerian indigent students to house the VP and we are being told there is nothing wrong with us”. He added: “We have had leaders that were exemplary in the past. Most Nigerians may not know that the popular 1004 flats in Lagos, was land allocated for the building of a presidential mansion for then Head of State, Gen. Murtala Muhammed. Still, he sternly turned down the offer and instructed that the land should be used to build blocks of flats for civil servants. That is the kind of sacrificial leadership worth emulating. “Our leaders must therefore stop the recklessness and insensitivity to the plight of the masses.”

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