Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Federal Government owes 16 states the sum of N580.5 billion for the rehabilitation works they executed on federal roads within their territories.
This was revealed at the public hearing by the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Works and Finance, on Wednesday.
The Committee chaired by Hon. Toby Okechukwu (Enugu PDP) and Hon. Babangida Ibrahim (Katsina APC) heard that Ogun state is leading the list with N222.9 billion.
Akwa Ibom is being owed N75.9 billion while Zamfara is being owed N57.9 billion.
Further breakdown of the debt showed that Anambra is being owed N43.427bn, Oyo, N32.93bn; Enugu, N25.930bn; Cross River, N25.701bn; Ebonyi, N21.85bn; Plateau, N19bn; Sokoto, N13.103bn and Kwara, N12.855bn.
Others are Ekiti State with N11bn; Abia, N5.2bn; Adamawa N4bn; Gombe, N3.851bn and Bauchi, N1.9bn.
The Permanent Secretary of Ogun state’s Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Mr. K. A Ademolake disclosed that the state government awarded 38 contracts for the rehabilitation of the federal roads in the state from 2007 to date.
He added that the state government has already paid N123.7 billion to the contractors out of the N222.9 billion, even though no funds have been received from the Federal Government for the expenditure. Representatives of the states urged the Committee to mount pressure on the Federal Government to reimburse them.
Speaking when he declared the hearing open earlier, Speaker Yakubu Dogara said the states must adhere to the federal government’s standards in rehabilitating the roads if they wish to seek reimbursement.
“It is very relevant therefore to find out if state governments complied with the basic tenets and principles of the Public Procurement Act in the award of Federal road Projects within their states for which they seek a refund. Is there value for money for those contracts? Are those contracts awarded whimsically to conies and favoured companies without due process?” Dogara said.