By Patrick Osadebamwen
Minister of Information, Labaran Maku drew the ire of Nigerians on Monday at the 2013 ministerial briefing on the transformation of the road sector in Nigeria being part of activities marking the mid-term achievements of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
There was disquiet in the hall when Maku said that Lagos, Edo and Imo states survive entirely on the federal infrastructures deployed to the states.
He said the entirety of good road networks in Edo and Lagos states were roads rehabilitated and funded by the Federal Government, citing Benin Ore road and Benin- Auchi expressway as amongst other examples.
The audience registered their disbelief at his claims when they roared in dis-approval expressing their shock and the minister cautioned them by requesting to know those sitting behind the hall.
According to Maku: “We toured all federal projects in Edo state. You can say that Edo state more than any state in the federation had a fairer share of Federal projects. When we went to Edo we discovered that Edo state today is benefiting entirely on federal roads, in fact the minister of works who is a son of Edo state.
On the development in Lagos Maku alleged that Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos did not do anything significant than mere environmental sanitation stressing that 80 percent of the taxes collected in Lagos are derived from the existence of the federal infrastructure.
“I can tell you today, I did my NYSC in Edo state. The only trunk A Road is the Lagos Benin Expressway.
“There was no other expressway, today in the same Edo state, when I went I could not recognize at all; what is happening there now is that from Benin city to Warri the road is an expressway; from Benin city again to Lagos express; and we just discovered that the road from Benin-city to Auchi and to Abuja is an ongoing expressway.
“So, you could see clearly that Edo state is resting heavily on federal infrastructures. Within Benin City, you could see federal road which people use to think were state roads. So when we went through those roads, during the good governance tour, the people of Edo state saw the huge difference, the federal government has made on the life of Edo people.
“When we went to the Benin-Ore road you could just lay your mat and sleep there. Honestly, am very sincere, you can go there and see it. Seeing is believing that was the situation of the transformations that these government has brought to the
“Lagos state particularly, that is where we have some of the criticism, you know more than I do that Lagos state leaves essentially on federal infrastructure, all the major roads in Lagos belong to the federal government. We just completed the 3rd Mainland bridge; the Apapa-Orile- Mile 2 Esele, isolo, Oshodi road, that road was hardly motorable now you go there and you see clearly that the federal road in Lagos which are the artery whether you are moving through the Ikorodu road to Lagos or through 3rd mainland to Apapa or moving through Apapa to sagamu all those roads are federal roads.
“Don’t forget all of these BRT are done on federal roads; the BRT runs on federal roads everybody knows this so essentially what you see in Lagos is the infrastructure of the federal government.
“And indeed more than 80 percent of taxes collected in Lagos are on federal infrastructure. In fact the governor of Lagos had to do no significant thing other than environmental sanitation, on a serious note I must say this Lagos is leaving essentially on federal infrastructure.
The minister went further to state that the same situation applies in Imo state suggesting that the non PDP states in the country are relying on the road infrastructure provided by the federal government in their respective states.
One of the attendees who reacted spontaneously on his seat, to the minister’s claims, Osadolor Ehizogie, an Edo indigene, chided the minister for undermining the good works done by the acclaimed best Governors across the country.
“Maku’s statement her today (Monday June 3, 2013,) is an outright shameless display of the government desperation to rubbish the visible works in Edo state through its propaganda machine all in a bid to make Nigerians believe that the federal and state roads in Edo state that are in good shape were totally rehabilitated by the Jonathan administration.
If you go to Edo state today from Ring Road to Ekenwan road, down to the University of Benin gate and beyond, you will see the federal road sandwiched between the newly constructed state road by the Comrade Governor Adams Aliyu Oshimhole.
It is incontrovertible fact. Any man who is in doubt should please place a call to any resident in Edo state of your own knowledge to verify what I have told you.” Ekiadolor said.
ACN spokesman Lai Mohammed in a sms reply said the two governments will reply Maku appropriately.
FG spends N120b on 32 road projects
Minister of Works, Arch. Mike Onolememen has said that the federal government has carried out significant repairs on the federal road arteries scaling good roads condition to 59.8 percent across the country.
This feat was achieved at the cost of N120b paid to contractors for completion of 32 road projects which part of the 35,000km federal road network in the country leaving a balance of N6 billion still owed contractors.
Onolomemen stated this Monday at the 2013 ministerial platform on the mid-term achievements of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja.
He stated that the present administration in living up to its pledge of transformation agenda in the road sector improved the level of good road by 37.8 percent in the last two years given the new direction of developing prioritized roads that would impact positively on the economy of the nation
“The 32 road projects some of them started long time ago some eight years ago and the total cost of delivering on these 32 roads cumulatively, N126b out of that the federal ministry of Works has paid N120b for these projects.”
According to him: “For the purpose of some percentage report on the tarred roads in the country, we do have about 65,000km of ashphalted roads in this country and out of that 35,000 of that belongs to the federal government and out of that figure I wish to state that 59.8% of that road is in good condition as of last month
“I want you to weigh that against the backdrop of what we inherited, at the time we came on board not more than 22 percent of federal road was in good condition. This is means that within this period we have been able to scale the percentage of road by about 37 percent, he submitted
Onolomenmen noted that his administration inherited 168 road projects which were not functional because they were abandoned for various reasons and he prioritized 80 of these roads for completion because of their critical role in the economic and integration of the country.
The Minister also pointed that prior to this administration the roads in the country were referred to as death traps because only about 22 percent of the roads were in good condition emphasising that the jobs inherited started over eight years ago.
He said the prioritization of the roads led to their successful executions resulting in reduced travelling time from points of origin to destination.
“Today, travel times between origins and destinations on most of these arterial routes have been drastically reduced. Also maintenance costs of vehicles have been reduced as a result of improved driving surfaces, devoid of potholes that hitherto put “holes” in the pockets of vehicle owners due to frequent repairs occasioned by bad roads.
He listed some of the vital raioads to include: “The “Operation Safe Passage” embarked upon by the Ministry in the 4th quarter of 2012 led to the recovering of failed portions of Federal roads across the country; from Ilorin to Jebba, Lafia to Makurdi, Aliade to Oturkpo, Oturkpo to 9th Mile, Enugu to Port Harcourt, Kano to Katsina, Lokoja to Okene, Okene to Benin, Lagos to Ibadan, and Odukpani to Itu. Many other Federal roads criss-crossing the length and breadth of our country have been maintained these past two years. Following the successes recorded in the past two years, Nigerian roads have again truly become not only veritable economic arteries supporting economic growth, but also a tool for National integration.
He pointed there is about N850b portfolio for road projects in the Northern region and this portfolio is made up of some of our flagship projects like the ongoing dualization of Kano Maiduguri road; transverse over one state which is covering over 510km and the dualization of Abuja Lokoja covering distance of 212 km then of course various of projects leading to the borders with our nieghbouring countries Niger especially Chad republic so on and so forth.
In 2012 alone, a total of 1, 980 km of road corridors were maintained by the Agency while an area of 1,337,343 square metres of pot-holes have been patched. Some of the notable corridors maintained by the Agency (FERMA) in the past two years.