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By 2021, total money paid as rent for Aso Rock residential quarters will exceed N400 million as questions remain on who the mystery landlord is.
The 2021 State House budget, as in previous years, has earmarked N66.6 million as payment for ‘residential rent’, a provision that many Nigerians have described as ‘suspicious’ with questions on if, indeed, Aso Rock is on rent.
In 2016, following an outcry on the same item in the budget, former Head of State, and also the first occupant of Aso Rock, Ibrahim Babangida, lent his voice to criticism of the residential rent provision, asking Nigerian government to explain who exactly are the landlords.
Babangida asked in 2016.
Aso Rock Presidential Villa was constructed in October 13, 1989 by Ibrahim Babaginda, following a 1976 proclamation by the Military Government of Murtala Mohammed for a more central state capital.
On November 1, 1991, the Aso Rock Presidential Villa was completed and President Babangida became the first Head of State to occupy it, moving in on December 12, 1991.
Although the controversy precedes President Muhammadu Buhari administration, the item has over the years continued to not only be a permanent feature of state house budget but has increased in the last five years.
In 2015, N22.4 million was budgeted as rent payment for state house, by 2016, it increased to N27.73m.
Despite the outcry that trailed the previous year and economic uncertainty, 2017 provision saw a massive increase by over 123% to N77.54m.
2018, 2019 and 2020 budgets also provided 66.6 million as rent for payment