Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu on Friday said the abandoned National Library building in Abuja, would be completed at the cost of N50 billion.
He said the Buhari administration has made it clear that it would not abandon any project initiated by any past administration that is adjudged to be in public interest, stressing that it was in the light of this, that the 2nd Niger Bridge, the Mambila Dam, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Terminal and a host of other projects have either been completed or are being continued.
He said efforts are on to complete the National Library Headquarters.
“You may have been aware that the project was awarded in 2006 at a total cost of N8 billion. By 2013, the project cost was reviewed upward to N18 billion. Work was however stopped by the end of 2013 due to poor funding,” he said.
He said when this administration came into power, the contractor submitted a new bill of N78 billion to complete the project and a committee was set up to evaluate the project which later submitted a bill of N50 billion.
“We have forwarded the report to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) for further appraisal.
“The recommendation of the BPP will be forwarded to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for consideration. While we await these processes to be completed, we are pursuing alternative sources of funding especially from special intervention funding windows,” he said.
He said the rising cost of the project was due largely to exchange rate fluctuations necessary upgrades and modernization among other variables.
Away from the building, he said the National Library of Nigeria (NLN) was required by its enabling Act to have
presence in all states of the federation and to fulfil the mandate, the NLN has been expanding its branches across the country as well as rehabilitating existing ones. He said Contracts for the renovation of the Lagos, Benue, Nasarawa, Imo, Adamawa, and Plateau branches have been awarded while others will come on stream 1n 2020.
He stated that the renovation goes beyond replacing leaking roofs and painting walls but it would involve providing reading spaces for children to promote a sound reading culture among school pupils, ensuring stable electricity supply, clean toilets and running water at all times.
Also, new branches are to be established in Delta, Anambra, Ekiti, Kebbi, Kogi and Jigawa states.
“We have completed permanent branch buildings in Gombe and Katsina states.
“It must also be noted that we are in a digital world. We are therefore in the process of providing free internet access for our library users, beginning with Lagos, Abuja and Enugu branches. We have requested Galaxy Backbone to increase our Internet bandwidth in these branches and the process is ongoing. We are also expanding completing and renovating e-libraries in all our unity schools and each school will gets qualified librarian to manage the learning resources,” he said.
He said the Federal Government was working with state governments and other relevant stakeholders to develop a public library policy for the country and a National Conference in this regard, wpulf come up between 27th – 28th March this year.
Meanwhile, the minister said unity schools would close for mid-term break between February 15 and 19 and commended ASUU for ending its 3-month-old strike action.
“I commend everyone involved in the negotiations. Despite my anger and anxiety with ASUU I must also commend their patriotism and public spiritedness,” he said.
He announced that Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics would also end its strike either yesterday or anytime soon.