The House of Representatives on Wednesday rejected a motion urging the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to change the Name, “Apo Legislators Quarters” to reflect current realities.
This followed a motion by Rep. Segun Adekola (PDP-Ekiti) at plenary.
Adekola explained that the motion was borne out of compassion for new legislators who passed through difficult experiences before they could get befiting accommodation.
Adekola said in 2004, the Federal Executive Council mandated the Federal Capital Territory Administration to sell all Federal Government non-essential houses in Abuja.
He said this included the Apo Quarters which was sold to Legislators occupying houses at the time under specific rules and guidelines.
He expressed concern over the challenging experiences new legislators were subjected to in their quest to get decent accommodation in the FCT.
The lawmaker stressed that this was due to the sale of the quarters originally built to accommodate them.
Adekola further expressed concern over the continuous use of the name “Apo Legislative Quarters” in describing the place, when in actual fact, most of the houses were no longer being occupied by legislators.
According to him, it has since changed hands due to sales to third or even to a fourth party.
He said there was the need to protect and uphold the sanctity of the legislature by putting in place, a corrective measure to address the ugly trend and distortion of fact.
He, therefore, called for change of the name, as over 80 per cent of the inhabitants of the quarters were not legislators.
“Legislature is the distinctive mark of a country’s sovereignty.
“The index of its status as a state and the source of much of the power exercised by the executive arm of government in the administration of the country.
“The legislature is the bedrock of any government, being an institution which represents the common and collective interests of the citizens.
(It is exercised) “through the enactment of laws and the exercise of oversight functions on the activities of the executive arm of government.
“In June 2003, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, based on the recommendation of a committee headed by the then Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Ufot Ekaette directed that the fringe benefits of all public and political office holders be monetised,”
Contributing to the motion,
Rep. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (PDP-Abia) sought a new prayer to the motion to ensure that FCTA urgently provided befitting quarters and set aside for serving legislators.
The Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun, asked the mover of the motion to withdraw it, as many former members still resided in the quarters.
He said that the name of the place had no bearing on how the parliament performed.
Also, the Deputy Chief Whip, Mr Pally Iriase, said that the world over, monuments were maintained for historical purposes.
He said that though many members no longer resided in the quarters, the name was a point of history that should be preserved for historical purposes.
Rep. Johnson Agbonayinma (APC-Edo said that the quarters lost its status as a national monument, the moment it was monetised and lost its initial function and status.
The motion was unanimously rejected by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara. (NAN)