Yemi Osinbajo
  •  Ambode commends acting president for fast-tracking process

Gboyega Akinsanmi

Almost three months after controversies on the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Airport (MMIA) road came to public knowledge, the federal government finally released the road to the Lagos State Government wednesday.

In a swift response, the state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, commended the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for fast-tracking the release of the road connecting the MMIA.

The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this on Sunrise Daily, a Channels TV programme, noting that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the road for the state.

On March 8, precisely, the governor had alleged that the ministry under the supervision of Fashola had been frustrating his administration to reconstruct the road linking Oshodi and MMIA.

Ambode had also alleged that the ministry and Department of State Services (DSS) had refused to hand over Presidential Lodge, Marina to the state contrary to President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive.

He then described the degradation of the road as a national embarrassment, saying the state government had the cash “to do a total reconstruction of the road. We took it upon ourselves to redevelop the road.

“We also took it upon ourselves to appropriate the 2017 budget that the House of Assembly should approve the total reconstruction of the Airport Road from Oshodi to the international airport.”

On the programme, wednesday, Fashola disclosed that he had signed a letter to Ambode to communicate the decision of FEC “to release the road to the state government.”

He said: “Last night, I just signed a letter to Ambode that the federal government has approved the release of the road based on the recommendation of the Ministry of Works, Power and Housing.

“The process takes time. That was the explanation that I made. Also, there are other interests on the road. For instance, the Federal Ministry of Transportation seems to take the view that the road is strategic. Because it leads to an airport, the road is subject to a certain regulatory review.

“I came to know about the application of the road sometime in 2016, certainly not 18 months. Are you going to hand over some ‘Trunk A’ roads to States who say they would like to take over some of these roads? It depends. There are many roads that are set out as ‘Trunk A’ roads.”

In a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, the governor commended the acting president for his statesman-like approach and for fast-tracking the process.

Ambode said: “We are very appreciative of the good gesture of His Excellency, the Acting President for acceding to our request which is not only very timely but a very heartwarming one. Posterity will never forget this genuine developmental action.”
He also described the approval as a 50th birthday gift to the people of Lagos State and as a further demonstration of the determination of the present administration to ensure the effectiveness of the Executive Order on improving the Ease of Doing Business recently signed.

He commended President Buhari for providing the enabling environment to attract Foreign Direct Investment into the country, noting that Nigeria would attract new investments with the upgrading of the road, which he said, was the gateway to the country’s commercial nerve centre.