By BENJAMIN OMOIKE
Despite deplorable conditions of federal roads across the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has on Wednesday directed that States should no longer intervene as they will not be reimbursed.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola revealed this while briefing State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He disclosed that the council approved the report and recommendation of a council committee set up by the President in order to respond to demands by state governments for refunds on intervention made previously before the current administration on federal roads.
Fashola further noted that the FEC also approved contracts for various sectors of the economy across the country, including N55 billion for the construction of roads in five North East states and the Oshodi/ Munshin/ Apapa roads in Lagos state.
Fashola said that FEC approved the N11.1 billion contract for the Mushin – Apapa – Oshodi road, to be executed on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis.
The minister explained that FEC approved refunds of N6.7 billion and N2.47 billion to Kebbi and Taraba state governments respectively for road projects executed by the states on behalf of the federal government.
“President subsequently issued the directive that there should be no more intervention by states on federal roads, but there were some that had been done before the life of this administration. So there were three states, Kebbi, Yobe and Taraba. I think on the 22nd of June, I reported that the claims for Yobe for N18.663 billion were approved. That left for those of Kebbi and Taraba states. So today council approved N6.706 billion for Kebbi state and N2.470 billion for Taraba states.
“The Council also approved that the road under construction by Taraba states for which this reimbursement is being made that that contract by the state government should not be terminated. That is a section between Bali and Ceti. This is because you will recall last year that council had approved the full reconstruction of Balley Ceti to Kimbu under the NNPC tax credit scheme.
“This is a better design road than the one that has a laterite base currently being constructed by the Taraba state government. But because there was an existing approval given before the life of this administration, we will refund up to this last reform. But we will not refund anymore, we’re going to reconstruct the road. So I just thought it was important to make that clarification. We have a full construction now, instead of part construction that the Taraba state was undertaking.
“Another interesting thing to note about these reforms is that they relate to debts and obligations incurred by the previous administration before the life of this administration. So this is also part of the national debt. So the process of payment requires the Ministry of Finance subsequent to this approval now, to go to the National Assembly, to get approval to raise debt to secure payment to the States. I think it’s important to note that when we’re having conversation about the national debt, these are some of the components that were inherited debts that this government is also paying for infrastructure.
“The last point to note is that this is a bipartisan approval, irrespective of party affiliations, all of the states who submit who met the conditions, who showed documentation benefited, as you will see Taraba, Kebb and Yobe are certainly bipartisan in their political affiliations.” Fashola said.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk, disclosed that FEC approved road construction contracts, across five states worth N43.4b for the North East Development Commission (NEDC).
She said, “They are in respect of road construction, reconstruction for five states of the North East region, namely Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe and Bauchi. For Borno, we have a 22.5-kilometre road that is to be reconstructed.The roads being reconstructed include the Ngon-Koshode and Ngon-Dosmari-Zabamari-Kongologo-Kajari roads with the contract sum of N13,553,902,668.95.
The Council also approved the reconstruction of 53 Kilometer Gombe-Abba to Kriffy Road in Gombe and Bauchi state in the contract sum of N11,697,355,449.61.The other road is the 54-kilometre Mutai in Gudal Road in Yobe states with the contract sum of N12,199,182,845.70.“The fourth one is the one for Adamawa State, Garkida road, it has a contract sum of N6,202,214,413.29 inclusive of 7.5 VAT. Garda road in Adamawa state is located at the fringes of the Sambisa forest.
She pointed out that the roads are being taken into consideration and selected in conjunction with the State governments and other critical stakeholders, adding that “These roads are expected to stimulate our economic activities, enhance security and facilitate the freer movement of goods and people in these affected states within the zone”.
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, disclosed that FEC also approved a contract worth N1.4b contract for the repair of cranes owned by the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
The crane, he said, is for emergency repairs, which he described as a “critical Crane for the operational capabilities of the Nigerian Railway Corporation “.
The Minister of Federal Capital Territory ( FCT) Mohammed Bello, also explained that the Council approved N781m contracts for security surveillance for the Abuja light rail tracks.Bello said the contracts were awarded to Messers Halali security guards limited and Messers Seaguard security and protective Company Limited.
He narrated: “They are going to provide security to their entire 45 kilometres of track including 12 stations. And these security services are meant to protect the key infrastructure on the rail tracks, the signalling and communication equipment as well as the electrical system.
“Halali security guard Limited is going to secure 27.4 kilometres of the track, covering eight stations at the cost of N407,214,000 over two years, while Seaguard securities are protective Company Limited is going to secure 18 kilometres of the rail tracks including four railway stations and that is at a cost of N310,979,250.”