Days to the May 29 swearing-in of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, the Muhammadu Buhari-led government has begun major renovation and refurbishing of sections of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
It was gathered that the concrete perimeter fence encompassing the President’s office, official residence, the Council Chamber, press gallery, and other administrative offices was being overlaid with new white and green paints.
According to The PUNCH, the delivery of new furniture to the green room adjoining the Council Chamber was made on Thursday.
The State House management, some months earlier, had carried out a routine upgrade of card readers and installed barricades in areas that were once freeways.
A senior State House official said the maintenance was part of the tasks carried out by the Presidential Transition Council chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
The official said, “The changes and upgrades we are doing are part of broader maintenance works. Some are routine, while others, like the painting, are done when the Villa is to host a new occupant.
“These follow the directives of the transition committee, which the SGF is in charge of. The card readers have since been changed. Those are just routine maintenance done when the old ones have passed their active life.
“Repainting is required because, over the years, the State House wildlife accommodates monkeys that roam free and stain these white walls. The bats we have here also deposit their droppings on the walls.”
On the total amount set aside for the renovation, the official said, “We don’t go outside the budget allocated to the State House, but the transition committee is shouldering any special cost.”
Since 2016, N3.05bn has been earmarked for “maintenance services” at the State House. These include maintenance of office furniture, office buildings and residential quarters, among others.
In the 2023 Appropriation Act, a total of N148,168,464,339 was allocated for the Presidency. Out of this, N14,808,479,660 was allocated to the State House headquarters, a sum of N3,441,177,028 was budgeted for State House operation of the President, while N1,555, 447, 054 was allocated on the State House operations for the Vice-President.
A total of N10,108,606,550 was budgeted for projects in the State House headquarters from which a sum of N19, 382, 375 was allocated for the purchase of sporting equipment for the State House Sports Club, while N14, 773, 412 was budgeted for procurement of equipment for the central gymnasium renovation.
For the renovation works on eight blocks of 16 two-bedroom flats at the State House security quarters, N 132,303,624 was set aside, while N87,255,745 was budgeted for the provision of the Electronic Document Management System.
A sum of N150,000,000 was also set aside for the replacement of telecommunications infrastructure at the villa; N25,023,505 for the upgrade of the State House library, and N7,562,000 for digital medical references for the library.
Rehabilitation of animal enclosure/procurement of vet lab equipment took N35,251,776, while the sum of N130,076,825 was allocated for the conversion/upgrade of the villa ranch and construction of wildlife conservation capture.
A total of N16,077,800 was approved for the purchase of plant nursery equipment for the production of local flowers for routine floral arrangement, irrigation and upgrade of helipad grass field, and N35,725,000 for systemic collection and assessment of data about projects and programmes to aid the management to make decisions. But a sum of N1,904,388,461 was also budgeted for the phased replacement of vehicles and spares during the year.
On annual routine maintenance of mechanical/ electrical installations of the villa, a sum of N7,200,045,297 was budgeted to be spent, and N99,656,180 on the purchase of various office equipment for the admin, finance and accounts, works, ICT, procurement, PRS and audit departments.
A sum of N251,084,550 was also budgeted for the purchase of tyres for bulletproof vehicles, plain cars, CCU vehicles, platforms trucks, SUVs, ambulances and other utility and operational vehicles.