Fashola cautions against intervention on federal roads without approval, assures on completion of Second Niger Bridge, Zik Mausoleum

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Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has cautioned state governments against intervention on federal roads without due approval by the Federal Government.
Fashola gave the warning while inspecting ongoing federal projects in the South-East on Saturday in Abakiliki, Ebonyi State.
He said the warning became necessary following the huge debts inherited by the federal government and the need to forestall the accumulation of such debts arising from interventions on federal roads.
The minister called on state governments wishing to intervene on federal roads to ensure that due approval and permission were granted by the federal government.
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“For anybody who wants to intervene on federal roads, you must first ask for permission and if you don’t do so, you have broken the law.
“You cannot break the law to please people, we understand that your citizens need the road but you cannot do evil to please them,” the minister said.
He said such practice was unacceptable and that to intervene on federal roads, “you must apply to us, we must see the standard and then refer it to Mr President in council.
“So, I am using this opportunity to repeat that no state government should intervene on federal roads until we have finished payment of the debts we inherited.”
He added that even if a state government does not want to be reimbursed, it must still seek approval.
He said the application for such intervention must state categorically that the state government was not ready to wait anymore and would want to intervene on the road without reimbursement.
Fashola said the federal government was awaiting legislation and debt financing approvals to authorise payment of the refund to state governments that executed federal projects.
He said the federal government had, through a committee constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari, concluded the process of collating claims of various state governments.
“We have collated the total amount; we went on inspection and validation and we have sent a memo to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on it.
“FEC has directed that the Ministry of Finance take up the whole claims with debts in other areas,” the minister said.
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He noted that what was left was the legislation to authorise the payments.
According to him, it is a lot of money that cannot be paid without going through appropriation and debt financing approvals.
Fashola also said that the Federal Government had put in place workable funding mechanism to ensure completion of the  Second Niger Bridge. 
Fashola gave the assurance  on Saturday when he visited the site of the project at Oko near Asaba in Delta.
He said the modified tax credit policy, the Sukuk Intervention Fund and the Presidential Infrastructural Fund, among others, were aimed at funding infrastructure projects that would make the country globally competitive.
 
“By my assessment, the piling work is now about 50 per cent.
 
“At the time I resumed work at the ministry, only the bridge was designed and work had stopped, but because of the commitment of the president, work has commenced.
 
“For the foreseeable future, I don’t see any reason why work will stop again because funding has been provided,” he said.
 
The minister said the contract for the construction of the already designed link roads from Asaba and Onitsha to the Second Niger Bridge would be awarded before the end of the year.
 
Fashola said the Federal Government was also undertaking maintenance work at the existing Niger Bridge to ensure that it continued to serve the citizens.
 
He said the ministry had received compensation claims in the realm of N3.44 billion to owners of land affected by the second Niger Bridge project.
 
“We have paid N1.8 billion. Our strategy is to pay in sections where contractors want to commence work immediately.
 
“We have also received additional claim of N1.5 billion. These claims are the impediment to the entire project,” the minister said.
 
On the Umunya section of the Enugu-Onitsha expressway, Fashola said the contract had been awarded, adding that work would start in earnest.
 
Fashola, who later visited Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, assured that the Federal Government would collaborate with the state government on the inter-change projects by Revenue House, Awka.
 
Also speaking, the Federal Controller of Works in Anambra, Mr Innocent Alumonah, explained that the second Niger Bridge was about 1.5 kilometers in length, with two spans of 40 meters each.
 
He said about 180 piles have been driven into the earth out of over 600 piles meant for the foundation of the bridge.
 
“The contractor has also put a lot of geo-textiles to the ground and constructed culverts as part of early works for the project which will soon be completed,” Alumunah said.
 
In a remark, Obiano commended Federal Government’s commitment to the Second Niger Bridge and appealed for the refund of N50 billion spent in rehabilitating federal roads in the state.
Obiano also appealed to the Federal Government on the Nnewi cluster power supply project as well as the proposed Regina Junction project on Enugu-Onitsha expressway.
The minister also ordered the contractor​ handling the Zik Mausoleum,  Bouygues Construction Limited, to complete and deliver the project before the end of October.
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Fashola gave the order on Saturday in Onitsha during an inspection of the project.
He expressed dissatisfaction over the slow pace of work  and threatened to revoke the contract if the contractor fails to deliver as ordered.
Fashola  also threatened to report the Project Manager, John Ameh to his professional body, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) if he fails to deliver.
The minister said the Federal Government was not indebted to the contractor adding that, there was no reason for the delay in the execution of the project.
Amen pledged to complete and deliver the project as ordered noting that the only work left was the finishing.
Mr Newton Okoroafor, the Federal Controller of Housing, Anambra State said the project was awarded in 2012 for N1.5 billion.
He said the contractor was mobilised effectively to site at that time to continue with the work till 2014 when he was demobilised due to non-payment of certificates.
Okoroafor said the contractor was again mobilised with all outstanding certificates paid by the present administration in line with its commitment to complete the project.
According to him, the federal government is not indebted to the contractor and the contractor has promised to deliver the project before end of October.

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