Ebonyi and Enugu State Governors are seeking a refund of N45biliion from the federal government for the rehabilitation of federal roads in their domains.
Ebonyi and Enugu State Governors, David Umahi and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who welcomed the Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, and his team in Abakilki and Enugu States yesterday while inspecting projects in the South Eastern part of the country in their State houses, told Fashola that they have expended N32bn and N13bn on federal roads.
Umahi said that his administration constructed three flyovers in the state which link the State to Cross River, Adamawa and Cameroon, at a cost of N910million each totaling N2.7bn while adding that the gross total of intention is N32bn
“The roads, he said, include Obubura federal highway, Abakaliki-Afikpo, section of Enugu-Abakaliki highway, most of these projects were both executed in the past administration”, he said.
He, said the State will appreciate a refund, “We will be very happy if we can get some of this funds, it will help us.”
Umahi suggested to the federal government to use concrete in construction of roads in the state while he cited poor finishing, soil composition as reasons why some of the projects executed by the previous administrations failed.
He however expressed dismay of the poor condition of work at the federal housing scheme that is ongoing in Ezzamgbo area of the state.
Enugu State Governor on his part, said the State has expended N13bn on federal roads, adding that the neglect of the federal roads in the South East, especially in Enugu, necessitated the intervention of the state government.
While responding to the issues raised by Umahi and Ugwuanyi, Fashola said the Ministry will have to verify the claims by the Governors before consideration for refunds.
“I want to use the opportunity to also say that as far as roads are concerned, by law, the Federal Government supervises and controls the Federal highways across the country and it is the ministry of Power, Works and Housing that has control over this.
He continues, “Anybody who wants to intervene on a federal road, he must first ask for permission, if you don’t, you have broken the law and you cannot break the law in order to do good, we understand that your indigenes need the road but you can’t do evil in order to do good, so let us be very clear you cant break the law to do good.”
The Minister further said, “We must see the standard, the President has been very clear and I will use this opportunity in saying that no state government should intervene on federal roads until we have finished paying the debts for intervention of federal roads, except that state government does not want to be reimbursed.
On the quality of federal projects, the Ministry responded, “First of all the issue which the governor raised concern is the laying of the foundation and I think we are over that now, I have been working with his people, making sure that the levels have been raised.”
“You and I with your cameras have gone in there into the flats, have you seen anything disagreeably with the quality and we have seen that this is still a work in progress, this is commendable quality and we wait for the others to finish.
Fashola noted that the federal government has concluded plans to build the Abakaliki-Ogoja trans sahara highway to boost export of agricultural produces from the state to Cameroon.
He, however, assured that President Muhammadu Buhari led administration is committed towards provision of good governance to every states of the federation not minding party affiliation.
“And we have built about 2.2 kilometre section of Enugu-Port-Harcourt highway.
“Also, is to say that Ebonyi state as one of agricultural states in the federation, the federal government has concluded plan to build the Abakaliki-Ogoja trans sahara highway so that in the future agricultural produces such as rice from this state would be exported to our neighbouring country”