Nigeria

House probes uncompleted N200 billion Lokoja-Benin road project

6. The House of Representatives yesterday, approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for ongoing external loans to the tune of $8,325,526,537 (USD) and €490,000,000 (Euros) under the 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan.

The House of Representatives has ordered an investigation of the rehabilitation and expansion of the road linking Lokoja in Kogi State to Benin in Edo State which has gulped N200bn.

A member of the House, Johnson Oghuma, called for a probe into the alleged slow pace of the project at the plenary on Thursday.

Moving the motion titled, ‘Need to Investigate the Utilisation of Over 200 Billion Naira on Construction of Lokoja to Benin Road,’ Oghuma noted that the dualisation of the Lokoja–Benin federal highway, from Obajana junction to Benin City, was awarded to a consortium of contractors in 1999 with a completion date of December 2021.

The lawmaker said, “Over N200bn has been budgeted from 1999 to 2021, in addition to the various loans and interventions projects such as SUKUK, among others. The road is a major highway connecting routes from the North to East, South-South and Western parts of Nigeria.

“The House is dismayed that the Lokoja–Benin section is now a death trap, as people can no longer travel safely, and what was a three-hour trip has now become a whole day’s journey and sometimes impassable.

“The House is concerned that if no urgent intervention to construct the Lokoja-Benin Road is taken, lives and goods worth billions of naira will be destroyed.

“The House is desirous of the need to unearth the latent and obvious reasons behind the total abandonment of the road projected for completion in December 2021.”

Adopting the motion, the House mandated its Committees on Works and Finance to “investigate the slow state of works(sic) on the Lokoja–Benin federal highway, compared to the colossal amounts budgeted and expended on the highway, and report back within four weeks.”

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