FG To Spend N155bn On Kaduna-Kano Road Project

The Federal Government on Wednesday approved a sum of N155.7 billion for the construction of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria to Kano road projects.

The minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola disclosed this while addressing press after a marathon federal executive council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential Villa in Abuja.

The meeting was also adjourned to today, the first time the council meeting will be holding for two consecutive days.

Fashola also said council approved the completion of Police Service Commission headquarters in Abuja.

According to him, the project was approved for variation to enable its completion over the next six months.
He noted that the initial cost was N3.486 billion and it has been increased to 3.925 billion, a variation of N439.113 million.

He said council also approved Nnamdi Azikiwe Mausoleum in Anambra State. The project was started but not completed by previous administration.

“Council approved the additional funding to complete it from N1.496 billion to N1.953 billion”.

Also approved is Efire-Araromi-Aiyede-Aiyela road to connect Ondo and Ogun states at the cost of N14.4 billion.
He said for the Enugu-Onitsha highway, the Amansia section, council approved the variations of the cost of N38.74 billion to enable the contractor progress with the work.

“Council also approved the awarded part at the Umunya at the cost of N23.4 billion. So if you add that N38.74 billion which was the cost of the Amansea section you will get a total approved cost of N62.06 billion.”

“This contract was first awarded for N24 billion in 2014 but the scale of work done is, to say the least, appalling,” he said.

Fashola said council also approved money for intervention in education and healthcare. It approved the provision of independent power plant in nine universities and one Teaching Hospital as the first phase of the pilot programme to cover 37 universities at the cost of N38.965 billion to provide dedicated power to the universities which include street lighting, workshop to train the students post-completion.

During his briefing, the minister of Water Resources, Suliaman Adamu said, council ratified augmentation of funds to complete Adada dam Igbo-etiti LGA in Enugu State, with the aim to provide water to the university town of Nsukka. It comprises of a dam, some kilometers of pipeline, water supply to some communities along the route and water treatment plant.

The Enugu State government is expected to take the conveyance system from where we stop from the water treatment plant into Nsukka town and provide the necessary distribution, storage and reservoirs.

“The project was started in 2010. This project has been augmented and council approved that the project be completed now at N5.6 billion by the end of 2018.

“Council also approved the augmentation of phase II Galma Dam and irrigation project in Kaduna Zaria. The purpose of the dam is to provide water in Zaria and environs. The phase I dam has already been completed while phase II involves irrigation and some additional structures. So there was an augmentation to raise the project N16.5 billion in favour of Gilmore Nig. Ltd.

“Council also approved the review of construction fee for Uguashi-Ukwu dam project in Delta State. The project is almost 100 per cent completed but because of the extension of time over the years, we have to ratify the need to pay consultants for staying on site to oversee that project. So council approved the sum of N133.6 million.”
The minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, said council approved production and distribution of core text books for early education classes 1-3 and for primary 4-6 in public schools nationwide.

He pointed out that the federal government felt there is a need to support the funding of education not just the instruction but also the individuals who occupy the institution at the cost of N6.9 billion.

He said council also gave approval for Jos Central Library and the construction of the Faculty of Animal Sciences and Engineering.

For ministry of transport, Amaechi said they had approval for two vessels called pilot cutters to escort vessels into the seaport saying “Prior to this time they were hiring, now we have approval for NPA to buy theirs at the cost of N1.9 billion.”

Also, he said council approved another two vessels of 17 meters in the eastern port that will help monitor and assist vessels into the seaport at the cost of N1.2 billion.

“Council also approved the award of contract for direct procurement of installation and commissioning of Wide Area of multilateration for the Gulf of Guinea at the cost of N3.9 billion. This is to help capture that equipment flying below the radar, for us to be able to pick them because it will be dangerous if we cannot because a lot of them use helicopters.

“There was also an approval for the consultancy services to construct a new terminal building at Mallam Aminu Kano Airport. We just want to complete the payment which is at N621 billion.

“Council also approved the purchase of flight calibration inspection at the cost of N111.6 million.”

He said one other key project that was approved is the engagement of consultants for the project management, monitoring and evaluation including media and public relations services of the UNEP report.

“The president has also directed that immediately remediation should start and so the processes for remediation should come to council within the next six months so that we can commence the activities of reclaiming the land from the disastrous stage that it is now. The president reminded the cabinet that he was in Ogoni during campaign and had promised that the UNEP report will be carried out”, he added.

The FCT minister, Mohammed Bello, said council approved the completion of the Goodluck Jonathan Way in the FCT that links traffic from Keffi-Nyanya into the city. “We got an augmentation of an additional N3.8 billion and with the funding the road will be completed any moment from now.”

He explained, “Council also approved a critical project which is the infrastructure development of Wasa resettlement site sitting on about 695 hectares at the cost of N26 billion. The infrastructure development will include the construction of 198 roads within the settlement area totaling about 88.95 kilometers. The project is meant to move about 13 indigenous communities in the FCT in that area.

Source: Leadership

Toll Gate Construction Commences Soon

The Minister for Works and Power, Babatunde Fashola announced that tolls would now be re-constructed at the 38 locations from which they were demolished in 2004. This decision by the federal government to bring back toll plazas clearly spells that the funding of roads cannot be from yearly budgetary allocations and that to continue with the current model is a disservice to Nigeria.

In the recent briefing to the Senate Committee, current minister, Babatunde Fashola gave details: The final designs for the toll plazas had been received but tolling would commence only after the rehabilitation of the roads to be tolled. Toll collection will be contracted out to private operators. Latest available technology would be deployed; with Electronic Reading System, e-payment and direct transfers by motorists using their mobile phones.

It is, however, understandable that the Senator Magnus Abe-led Committee raised issues concerning FERMA. It was an opportunity for the Minister to solicit the Senate’s support for a quick passing of the Bill in the Senate for the establishment of the National Road Fund and the Federal Roads Authority. That effort is being led by Senator Kabiru Gaya, Chairman of Committee on Works with oversight functions over federal roads. Certainly, the Minister and the senators need to pay greater attention to the bill, which has gone through a second reading. The minister also needs to allay misgivings about his position on this issue. His predecessor in office, Mike Onolohmemen, had announced in 2013 that the road agency would be established as the permanent solution to the challenge of funding roads and to eliminate the duplication of functions by FERMA and the Federal Highways Division.

In the past, revenue collected from toll plazas did not go directly into road maintenance and administration, because such funds were deposited in the Consolidated Revenue Account. Payments for road programmes, therefore, had to come from budgetary allocations. This time around, the Minister assured that monies collected from toll plazas would be used for maintenance. How would this be achieved without a Road Fund and given the exigencies of the Treasury Single Account?

On the problems of FERMA, the Minister reported that in the current fiscal year, the agency has a budget of N25B but only N800M has been released by the Ministry of Finance. Yet, the Minister promised that the Highways Division and FERMA “will try and repair the roads before people start travelling in December.” It is widely known that to every challenge in Nigeria’s infrastructure development, all the necessary solutions had been proffered and are well-documented. Many Nigerian experts and consultants who have worked for years have however suffered frustration in the hands of successive leadership without the will to implement. So have the officials from international development agencies who worked with the best interest of Nigeria at heart. Many specialists have taken similar recommendations or solutions to other nations, which promptly implemented them to their benefit while Nigeria has been a pitiable model of the absence of the will to do the right thing. This is the malaise road reforms have suffered since 1972.

Now, there is a need for synergy in government policy and programmes for roads. The duplication of efforts exists also in the legislature. Why are there many committees on roads, as in other areas? It is time for the executive to drive the actualization of the effort to establish a Road Fund and the Federal Roads Authority. To re-introduce tolls without the National Road Fund and the Federal Roads Authority is to put the cart before the horse. If the vacillation on this long-standing issue continues, it will result in total collapse of Nigeria’s road network.

Kaduna Electric Commits To National Grid Stabilization

The Chairman of Kaduna Electricity Distribution PLC, Alhaji Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar has called for greater collaboration between the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN and the Distribution Companies for effective delivery of qualitative power supply to the Nigerian public.

The call was made in Zaria last Friday while making a remark during the official commissioning of a mobile 40MVA power transformer at the 132/33KV Transmission sub-station by the honorable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola.

He advocated a balance between grid stabilization, the major concern of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN and business viability. “The two actors in the value chain must work together to ensure that the National Grid is stabilized, just as concerted efforts must be made to ensure that the power sector is viable and attractive to both local and foreign investors. This is the only way to ensure to ensure the development of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry”, he asserted.

Alhaji Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar therefore congratulated both the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola and the Interim Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Alhaji Usman Gur Mohammed for the incremental progress being recorded in the nation’s power sector, describing the Nigerian Electricity supply Industry as ” the most difficult sector to work in”.

The Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola who was represented by the Minister of State, Power, Works and Housing, Alhaji Mustapha Baba Shehuri announced that the Federal Government shall upgrade the TCN capacity to 20,000MW in the next four years.

Earlier, the Interim Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Alhaji Usman Gur Mohammed disclosed that “plan has reached the advanced stage to construct a 330KV grid code line from Kaduna to Zaria to Kano through the Transmission Company of Nigeria grid rehabilitation and expansion programme.

 

Source: Press Release

Nigerians Should Embrace Solar Energy – Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola has advised Nigerians to embrace solar energy to reduce pressure on the national grid. Fashola gave the advice in Lagos at a book launch.

He made references to a book titled “Solar Electricity Generation for off-grid communities in Nigeria”, which was written by Mr Oladele Amoda, the Managing Director, Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC).

Fashola advised Nigerians to invest in solar energy as solar energy remained energy for the future. “Solar energy is very important to reach Nigerians living in various communities that are difficult to reach by the Disco.

“We are committed to incremental power and policies that will drive the power sector; Solar is one of the renewable energy,” he said.

The minister, however, allayed fears of Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) over the deployment of more solar power through mini-grids and other Federal Government initiatives aimed at improving service in the power sector.

He commended Amoda’s initiative in authoring a book that would address power sector challenges, adding that Amoda was outstanding.

He said that the book presentation was timely as power sector would start to witness dry session by next month

The minister said that power generation had increased from 2,600 megawatts to 7, 000 megawatts, while power wheeled out was gradually increasing to 7,000 megawatts.

Prof. Bart Nnaji, a former Minister of Power, commended Amoda for his painstaking research and knowledge input in a book that would address power sector challenges and proffered solutions

Nnaji, the Chairman of Geometric Power, said that Amoda had transformed the power sector under his watch as the managing director of Eko disco.

He said that renewable energy remained a major focus of power sector growth and development in rural communities in Nigeria. He urged stakeholders in the power sector to support the minister in developing the sector to deliver desired results in the country.

“Eko Disco was the best performing Disco during the privatisation era, so, am not surprised that Amoda authored a book. “Am not surprised to see an excellent managing director of Disco understood the prospects and challenges of the power sector,” he said.

Amoda said that the essence of the book was to create awareness on important alternative energy in Nigeria as Nigerians could not continue to depend on the use of fossil fuel that was given environmental issues.

He said that renewable energy also reduced incessant vandalism synonymous with conventional energy theft in the network.

Fashola Canvasses Tax Relief For Investors

Federal Government offers Tax relief to individuals corporate organization investors who are ready to invest in Nigeria road infrastructure.

Babatunde Fashola the Minister of Power, Work and Housing made the offer speaking to Journalists in Abuja yesterday.

He said the idea was to attract the private sector to road maintenance.

According to Mr. Fashola, the initiative will be implemented under a tax recovery order that exists under the Companies’ Income Tax Act.

The minister said that what it really meant technically was that the government was spending the taxes it should collect in advance to quickly respond to places where there were pains.

“Some of these companies or most of them make profits and they should pay tax at the end of the day.

“So, it is not a method that is new but it is something that we are going to be using more frequently.

“Government is saying that if you invest in infrastructure that the public will use, it will give you some tax relief as well as commend and welcome the initiative.

“So, we welcome individuals and corporations that have money to intervene on certain roads and then get tax relief in return,” he said.

Mr. Fashola said that the federal government had gotten an offer from the Dangote Group under this initiative to rehabilitate some roads in Lagos State.

He said Dangote had before the offer voluntarily agreed to rehabilitate two kilometers of Wharf Road in Apapa, Lagos.

According to him, beyond what Dangote has done voluntarily, it is also offering to take over the entire stretch of road from Creek Road-Liverpool Road-Apapa through Tincan-Oshodi-Mile 2.

Mr. Fashola said that another company, Lafarge had also adopted the initiative in Cross River to build a road.

Fashola Refuses To Call Off Privatization Of Power Sector

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola has said he will not back down from the privatisation of the power sector.

Fashola emphasised that he would rather insist on follow-up of the on-going reform in the maximum benefit of Nigerians.

In Fashola’s address During the executive session at the third edition of National Council on Power (NACOP), said: “Let me set the context by once again reminding all of us that the power sector has been privatised and is largely in the hands of the private sector.

“Therefore, the work that needs to be done is largely the responsibility of the private sector.

“Our role as governmental institutions at Federal and state levels is to implement the laws, enunciate policies and take actions that help the private sector play its part effectively.

“Our roles in this regard are well set out in the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005 pursuant to which the privatisation of the power sector took place. That law, which I urge everybody to read, clearly sets out my role as minister, which is to administer the law in Section 100.

“As we are all aware, there have been comments about how effective privatisation has been in the power sector and some people have called for its cancellation, which I disagree with.”

He added: “However, I agree that there are problems, I understand that four years post-privatisation is a transition period, and some more work needs to be done before the expected benefits of privatisation come to fruition.

“That is why we developed the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP), which are a set of policies, programmes and actions aimed at solving generation, transmission, distribution, liquidity, metering, estimated billing, energy theft, safety and other challenges.

“While we are beginning to see results of increased generation up to 7001MW on September 12, 2017, Transmission up to 6,700 MW and Distribution 4,600, it is not yet enough.”

The challenged states and local governments to be ready to play their own role in ensuring the power sector reforms succeed in the interest and growth of the country.

Fashola said the largest beneficiaries of the power sector reforms were Nigerians.

The minister said: “Among some of the reform actions contained in the Power Sector Recovery Programme being undertaken at Federal Government level, there are other areas of reform, where progress will be defined by what happens at the state and local government and this is one of the reasons why we chose to discuss this theme at this council, where all the states are represented.

“For example, out of the estimated MDA debts of about N90 billion claimed by the DisCos, only about N27billion has been verified as debts owed by the Federal Government. There are invoices which show that other parts of the debt are attributable to service points at states and local governments.

“I will urge first that states and local governments insist that their buildings are metered so that they can budget for and pay for the energy they use. It will turn out to be cheaper than diesel-generated power. It will also help reduce the loss of income by DisCos.”

Min Of Works Blames Humans For Infrastructural Complication

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has insisted that the challenges facing the power sector is not technical but manmade.

Nigeria’s energy crises have persisted despite series of assurances by the Federal Government that the power challenges will be given maximum attention and treated with despatch.

But two years down the line, not much had changed, and in some instances, the situation had gone from bad to worse, with energy costs accounting for the highest spend for homes and businesses as Nigerians rely on alternative sources to get by.

Besides, Fashola has faced a series of backlashes for failing to fix power following his past boasting that this could be achieved within months.
But speaking at a dinner organised by the Petroleum Club in Lagos last week, he clarified, “some people have said because I am not an engineer is the reason for continued power instability. But many people have served before me that are engineers and the challenges in power are still there, though I acknowledge their efforts.

“Most of the problems in the sector are not engineering but manmade. For instance, we have a situation where close to 900 containers that have switches, feeders, control units meant for the power plants are trapped in our own ports for almost a decade. During this administration, we have now received 387 containers in one year that could not be retrieved in a decade, and we have started moving them to different power stations in the country.”

He added that power has also improved under the Buhari’s administration. According to him, “two years ago, that is May 29th when this administration came to power, Nigeria was generating 2,690 megawatts (mw), but by May 29th this year, power generation is now 4,014mw. What we did is that from the onset, we set a road map that will take us to more incremental energy.”

Speaking further, he said: “The years we were getting 2690mw and perhaps less, this economy was growing. But at a time when we are generating 4,014mw, we are in recession. It shows we were growing but not developing. India, for instance, relies on self-generating power in their industrial sector, and they are manufacturing and exporting. India is advertising Made in India because they have developed the capacity to manufacture. So we have to look in the mirror.”

In addition, he said: “today, the power is largely controlled by the private sector, that is the Distribution Companies (Discos) and the generating companies (Gencos). After all, we said we don’t want government again but the private sector. We said the private sectors have the skills and technical know-how to run it, so if we are not generating or distributing power, whose fault? The government is only the manager of the transmitting company.”

He continued, “The problem is also a value chain; you don’t solve one and leave the other. If Nigerians understand the situation on the ground, they will be more considerate in their assessment and work with us to get there.”
Fashola identified some other issues affecting the sector to include liquidity, debts, supply of gas etc, adding that most of the rich do not pay for the power they consume.

On supply of gas, he said his ministry is working with Ministry of Petroleum Resources, and related parastatals to improve on the supply of gas and urged members of The Petroleum Club to assist in the supply of gas.

He also said that government is also providing independent power to 37 universities and seven teaching hospitals, while the Rural Electrification Agency would assist in the provision of power in the rural areas.

In his opening remark, Chairman, The Petroleum Club, Lagos Godswill Ihetu, noted that issues and challenges relating to the power sector are among the commanding heights of the economy.

Road Infrastructure: Fashola, Please Wake Up

By Kassim Afegbua

I have had the rare privilege of serving in a government at the state level, so I can’t pretend not to know the procedure involved when trying to fix some of our decrepit infrastructure. Under emergency situation, what is usually at issue is getting the right funding to meet with several competing issues begging for attention.

Road construction happens to be quite an expensive project depending on the terrain. It is money guzzling because of its engineering details and other components that make for good road construction.

I have not elected to ridicule one of the finest Nigerian public servants in person of Babatunde Raji Fashola, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the Honourable Minister for Power, Works and Housing; a man whose intellect I admire so much. I have just set out to pour out my reservations about the state of our roads and the need to take some drastic actions to arrest the present drift.

I can understand Fashola’s frustrations in the light of declining revenue amidst a plethora of infrastructural challenges in the road sub-sector, I am nonetheless sure that he can do better than what we are witnessing presently.

I do understand also that road construction suffers a lot of neglect during rainy season for reasons that are obvious, but we cannot use that as a flourishing excuse for the parlous state of our roads across the country. It has gotten to an embarrassing level that one begins to wonder if there is actually a government in place. Even when one is privileged to call the attention of some state governors to these deadly roads, the fact that they are called federal roads makes the intervention not forthcoming.

State governors would tell you that the Federal Government owes them for previous interventions and remedial works done on the roads, hence they wouldn’t want to commit further funds to carrying out any palliative works on the roads until the outstanding payments are paid. Travelling across the country by road has become a nightmare.

Some of the roads are not just littered with pot holes and craters; they are easily impassable thus making travelling very troubling and tiring. The road to Minna is left with what former President Ibrahim Babangida did over 25 years ago when the road was rebuilt.

There was initial effort to dualise the road from Suleja to Minna by Obasanjo-led administration; which approximates 90 kilometres. For the past 10 years, such dualisation has not seen the light of the day.

Today, the road is not just in a sorry state of disrepair, it has become embarrassing and deadly to road users. When you travel on that road, you will still see one caterpillar or another scavenging for sand by the road side and pretending to be working. Visit the road again in another one month, you will still see the workers on the same spot forming clusters and blowing hot air as if work is ongoing but alas, it is all a mere fluke.

But the state government is making some impacts by patching parts of road. If Minna road is in a bad state, that of Okene to Benin passing through Okpella and Auchi is another road to hell. From Okpella to Auchi portion of the road has become huge death trap and totally unacceptable. If Okpella to Auchi offers road users some escape, that of Ekpoma to Ehor has become almost cut off.

The bridge at Okpella is almost caving in. With gridlock of heavy duty vehicles permanently on the bridge, it will soon give way. That bridge was built in 1977 and its present state needs serious reinforcement and urgent repair.

The traffic on that road as we speak runs into 20 kilometres stretch on a daily basis. The heavy duty vehicles mostly from BUA Cement Factory are not helping matters in any form. BUA itself has shown a complete disdain for corporate social responsibility.

Because of the bad roads in Okpella, accidents at the bridge end of the road have become prevalent. Travelling to Benin by road these days has become eyesore, debilitating and grossly nerves breaking.

Trucks and heavy duty vehicles have converted decrepit street roads in Okpella into familiar terrain for want of escape from the disturbing gridlock that has become a permanent feature on that road. Before Comrade Adams Oshiomhole bowed out of office, Fashola paid a facility visit to Edo State and travelled on that road. What he saw was total decay in the area of federal road infrastructure.

He did promise to come back and fix the road; we are still waiting for that “genuine” promise to materialize. If the road was bad last year, it has now become worse. I found it interesting when I watched the Acting President visit the site of the collapsed bridge along Mokwa-Jebba road. Such prompt response to disaster sites is desirable, but preventing them from happening would have been more judicious and rewarding.

The Jebba-Tegina road has been in the news long before the bridge caved in. I can’t remember how many times I watched the disturbing site on television alerting the government of the danger of that road. Government did not take immediate action to remedy the situation, but when the bridge decided to bow to the pressure of decay and erosion, it caved in.

The rest, as they often say, is now history. Suffice it to say that a stitch in time saves nine that is why it is imperative for Fashola’s Works Ministry to spring into action before another embarrassment befalls the nation, aware that the said road connects the North to the East. The previous regime of PDP rather than fix our roads ended up vandalising the roads further in the name of mobilizing to site.

Their caterpillars came to Edo, stopped at Aduwawa and Ehor axis along Benin-Auchi road, and removed part of the tarred surface.

They left the caterpillars on site and campaigned with them declaring to who cares to listen to their litany of lies, that they were working on Edo roads. As soon as they lost election, the roads whose tarred surfaces have been removed, were now exposed to agents of denudation.

As we speak, the Aduwawa end of that road down to Ramat Park in Benin City has been properly constructed by the Fasholaled ministry with side drains. What is urgently required now is to commence work on the other part of the road leading up to Okpella and Okene. The present hardship being experienced by road users plying that road can no longer be tolerated. Honourable Minister, please do something urgently.

Please, please. There are several roads across the country that are also suffering similar condition of disrepair. Kabba-Ilorin road is one of such deadly roads let alone other East-West roads that were left uncompleted by the PDP government.

We cannot continue to lament the present state of our roads, we must take urgent steps to arrest the descent to anarchy on our highways and save our people the orgy of road accidents many of which are caused by these unwholesome roads. Once the rains abate, we must jump into action and help give Nigerians a breath of fresh air in the area of good road infrastructure.

I feel terribly ashamed these days when one is being confronted and shown terribly bad roads as the relics of APC poor performance. Even when you try to blame PDP-led government for  the cause of the ridiculous state of our roads, they ask a simple question; since APC has come, what have they done? Over to you, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN.

Fashola Says His Disagreement With Rep Members Is Healthy

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has advised Nigerians not to misinterpret his disagreement with the House of Representatives over his ministry’s budget, saying he has no personal issues with members of the lower chamber.

The minister who made the assertion, while fielding questions from State House correspondents, said, “let me make it very clear that many of the Senators and honourable members are my personal friends; so, you don’t fight your friends.

“I say that the words that we use will potentially redirect our attention from what the real issue is. I don’t think that a feud is a right word to use.

“A disagreement; yes, a very healthy disagreement. Don’t forget that we are not disagreeing about who should head what. We are not disagreeing about who should take what share of the national cake.

“We are disagreeing about how to develop Nigeria and that for me is very healthy for our democracy.’

 

Works Minister Babatunde Fashola Frustrating Reconstruction Of Oshodi-Airport Road, Laments Governor Ambode

The Federal Ministry of Works, headed by former Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, is frustrating the reconstruction of the Murtala Muhammad International Airport Road into Oshodi, his successor said on Tuesday.

Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode was speaking to Government House Correspondents at the Lagos House, shortly after carrying out an extensive inspection of some critical projects in the State, according to a statement by Habib Aruna, his Chief Press Secretary.

He said the State Government presently has a design for the reconstruction of the road as well as the funds to embark on the project but the Federal Government was yet to grant approval.

The Governor said: “The road linking Oshodi to the International Airport, you would all agree with me, is a national embarrassment. In the spirit of the regeneration and urbanisation that this administration has set out to achieve, we believe strongly that the image that is exhumed by the decadence of that road must be repaired, and we took it upon ourselves to appropriate the 2017 budget that the House of Assembly should approve the total reconstruction of the Airport Road from Oshodi to the International Airport.

“The State currently has a design of 10 lanes to come from Oshodi to the International Airport with interchange and flyover that would drop you towards the Local Airport. The contractor is already set to go, and everything, as I said, has been completed, and we already have the cash, but alas we are having challenges with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. This is a Federal and not a State road. The Federal Ministry of Works believes that they should do the road, but they have not been able to do it all these years past.”

He lamented that despite the fact that the Federal Government was indebted to the State to the tune of N51billion, spent on repairing federal roads over the years, the State Government’s effort to immediately transform the Airport Road to a world class standard was being frustrated.

Governor Ambode said if given the approval, his administration was ready to hit the ground running and begin construction of the Airport Road within two weeks, and complete the project within six months.

Besides, the Governor also implored the Federal Government to avail the State of the N2billion appropriated for the Airport Road in the 2017 National Budget to carry out the project.

“I just want to remind Lagosians that before my becoming Governor, the Federal Ministry of Works has been owing Lagos State a total of N51billion as reimbursement for reconstruction that was carried out by the State Government on federal roads in the State.

He noted that what his government is asking for is, of course, not up to the N51billion the federal authorities owe Lagos State.

“I just want to appeal to the Federal Ministry of Works, to let go or reimburse us with whatever it is that they owe us and even if they are not willing to pay us now, we have the money to do it. It is a national disgrace, and we would not be part of it. We would like to do it as part of the celebration of Lagos at 50,” Governor Ambode said.

The Governor also expressed frustration that six months after President Muhammadu Buhari approved the handover of the Presidential Lodge, Marina, the State Government was yet to gain access to the premises, adding that this was seriously frustrating the programs outlined for the Lagos @ 50 celebrations.

“One of the key venues that we need to celebrate the real essence of Lagos, the historic place that we refer to as Presidential Lodge is still more or less being tossed about concerning being handed over to us.

We believe strongly that by May 27, 2017, we should be able to invite Mr. President and other people who have actually made Lagos what is it today to that Presidential Lodge for the final Banquet and Dinner to mark Lagos at 50,” he said.

He appealed for the approval of the President to be honored by the agencies concerned: the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and the Security Services.

On the projects he inspected earlier, the Governor expressed satisfaction with the pace of work by the contractors, saying that they will be commissioned as part of the State’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.

He also pointed out that his administration has fully paid compensation to owners of properties that had to give way for the Oshodi and Ojodu Berger regeneration projects, and concluded plans to pay property owners at Abule Egba within the next four weeks.

Among projects inspected include the Ojodu Berger regeneration project, Abule Egba Flyover Project and also the Aboru Abesan Link Road and Bridge Project.

Sahara Reporters

Fashola Assures Nigerians Of Affordable Houses For low-income Earners

The Minister gave the assurance in Abuja, while addressing the Obinna Chidoka-led House Committee on Habitat, which requested for details of the budget implementation on Habitat.

Babatunde Fashola He disclosed that there were plans to roll out habitat agenda that would accommodate public and private sector workers, especially persons with low incomes, adding that consideration will be given to workers within Grade Levels 08 to 15. He explained that the new policy would be standardized and made flexible to take into consideration building needs of Nigerians across ethic, cultural and religious backgrounds.

Fashola said parts of the considerations include provisions of power, water, access roads and security for the proposed low-cost houses.

According to him, “At the ministry, we see issues of habitat as crucial in driving the housing sector in the country. “This is the reason we participated in the habitat conference, where we expressed our commitments and are working towards the domestication of the agreements we have reached on housing matters.

“For the 2016 budget relating to habitat, the records of expenditures are not with me right now. There are with the DFA (director of finance) and will be made available to you later. “But I must say that we’re starting a new housing policy, in which we’ll create economic outlets for artisans.

“We are aiming at completing old housing schemes and beginning new ones, where we’re targeting those in levels 08 to 15 in public sector and those in private sector, bearing in mind the different cultural, religious and other needs of the people in the construction of the buildings.”

Chairman of the Committee, Obinna Chidoka requested for the details on how the 2016 budget on habitat was spent as the the former Ministry of Housing and Urban Development was merged with Ministry of Power, Works and Housing by the present administration.

He also pledged the Committee’s readiness to provide necessary assistance in enhancing activities in the Ministry through adequate funding.

 

Source: VANGUARD news