President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, debunked reports on Wednesday suggesting that N10 billion had been budgeted for the renovation of his official residence in Abuja.
There have been reports that part of the N27.7 trillion budget presented by Tinubu to the National Assembly was earmarked for the renovation of the residence of the CoS.
Gbajabiamila in a statement on X said he has seen social media commentary regarding the 2024 Appropriation Bill, particularly the provisions under the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President.
“Owing to the erroneous nature of these reports, it has become necessary to clarify that there is no provision in the 2024 Appropriation Bill for the renovation of any residence for the Chief of Staff to the President,” he said.
“I live in my private residence. The sums mischievously quoted by online bloggers and fake news merchants are for renovating the Presidential Quarters in Dodan Barracks and the Vice President’s Lodge in Lagos.
“It is meant to overhaul the information management and communications facilities in the Presidency to meet modern standards and to provide vehicles for the staff of the Presidency.”
Gbajabiamila in the statement further explained that the sums proposed for these projects are clearly stated in the budget proposal and bear no resemblance to the deceptive online commentary.
He added that President Tinubu’s administration welcomes and encourages scrutiny of government expenditure; this is why the Budget proposal is publicly available.
However, according to the Chief of Staff, healthy public debate about government actions requires everyone to be responsible with his or her utterances and engage based on facts rather than insinuations and falsehoods.
Earlier, Vice President Kashim Shettima has condemned comments made by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general election, Mr. Peter Obi, for questioning the motive behind the proposed N15.5 billion budgeted by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to construct a new official residence for the him.
FCT Minister, Nysom Wike, had recently revealed that the government planned to use the funds for a “befitting residence” for the nation’s Vice President.
However, Obi attacked the idea in a series of tweets on his X handle on Monday, calling it “shocking and disheartening.”
Reacting to the criticism, Shettima in a release issued on Tuesday by his media aide, Stanley Nkwocha, accused Obi of dancing “naked in the public square, trying to curry the attention of those who care to listen to his falsehood and warped opinions about waste.”
It further stated that Obi was merely embarking on armchair criticism of the Tinubu administration after his colossal loss at the presidential poll.
According to Shettima: “For good 24 hours, Obi danced naked in the public square, trying to curry the attention of those who care to listen to his falsehood and warped opinions about waste.
“On Sunday, he accused the current administration of sponsoring over 1,400 delegates to Dubai for COP28. The next day, being Monday, the subject of his new found passion – armchair criticism – after his colossal loss at the presidential poll was the proposed N15.5billion budgeted by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to renovate the house of the Vice President, which he claimed would pay the annual salary of 3,000 University Professors.”
The statement further clarified that the proposed plan for the construction of the Vice President’s official residence, for which budgetary allocation was made in the 2024 budget by the FCT Administration, was awarded by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.