• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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BusinessDay

Reps probe federal road rehabilitation contracts

House of Reps

The House of Representatives on Thursday unveiled plans to probe various contracts awarded by Federal Government on road rehabilitation across the country.

The resolution came on the heels of concerns expressed by Nigerians over the deplorable state of federal roads and undue delay in releases of funds appropriated in the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years.

BusinessDay gathered that 15 percent of the total amount appropriated in the 2017 budget to Federal Ministry of Works has so far been released, 64 days to the end of the financial year.

According to one of the management team in the Ministry, no money was released to the Ministry after the disbursement of the 15% in the first quarter of 2017.

Worried by the prevailing situation, the House urged President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to “declare a state of emergency on the dilapidated federal roads in the country and initiate measures to rehabilitate them.”

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Segun Adekola, who sponsored a motion on the poor state of federal roads that link all parts of the country, observed that budgetary allocations for rehabilitation/maintenance of the roads are usually less than 45 percent, whereas road infrastructure deficit was estimated in 2015 at N2 trillion.

“The House is aware that the absence of a railway system covering the length of the country makes road transportation the most widely available means of movement from one part of the country to another, in the process, exacting immense toll on the road network.

“The House observes that the zero budgeting system being implemented by the Federal Government is hampering effective rehabilitation and construction of roads in the country given that there is no alternative means of funding this critical sector.

“The House is concerned by the absence of public private partnership scheme and the failure of successive Administrations to prioritize road construction and maintenance, such that practically all Federal roads like Owo-Ikare-Kabba, Ikare-Omuo-Kabba, Ipele-Kabba, Isua-Ibilo-Okene, Okene-Obajana, Abuja-Lokoja-Okene, Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Okigwe-Umuahia, Enugu-Awka-Onitsha, etc, are at various states of disrepair.

“The House is also concerned by the harrowing experiences commuters are having on the roads in form of accidents and attacks by hoodlums who rob and kill at will on the roads,” the lawmaker bemoaned.

While ruling on the motion, Speaker Yakubu Dogara mandated the Committee on Works to ascertain the status of federal roads across the country, the contracts awarded for their rehabilitation, the budgeted sums and states of execution from 2007 till date, and report back within 12 weeks for further legislative action.

BusinessDay gathered that the sum of N41,308,351,806.19 was proposed by the Ministry to fix ‘important and critically failed roads listed for urgent palliative repair works.

According to the record, the sum of N22 billion is required for the implementation of 13 critical roads across Adamawa, Borno, Bauchi, Taraba, Yobe and Gombe states within the North East region.

Fiftheen critical road projects were captured in the seven North West states, namely Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Jigawa and Katsina respectively.

 

KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja