By Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Niger State Commissioner for Works, Alhaji Zakari Jikantoro, has said that the renovation, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Government House in Minna, the state capital, is costing the government over N3.7 billion.
Jikantoro told newsmen after the state executive council meeting in Minna on Thursday that the first phase of the project had already been completed at N2.1 billion, while the second phase of the project for which contract had been awarded will cost N1.6 billion.
The commissioner said the project was being executed in phases because of the volume of work that needed to be done as well as the huge funds required, adding that the second phase entailed the construction of three sets of three bedroom guest houses, swimming pool, whereas the first phase was for the Government House proper, the front gate and the fencing.
The administration of former Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu in 2014 commenced the renovation of the Government House with about N75 million in preparation for the incoming government but the job was stalled by lack of funds.
While Aliyu used his private residence as official quarters for eight years, the incumbent Governor Abubakar Sani Bello had also been residing at the Presidential Lodge since his swearing-in on May 29, 2015, as a result of lack of governor’s official residence.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transportation Abdullah Imam, who also briefed newsmen after the meeting, disclosed that government had completed arrangements for the purchase of 14 high capacity buses for intra-city shuttle and 50 units of medium size buses for long distance journey at a cost of N1.23 billion, which would be added to the fleet of the state transport authority.
He said the 14 high capacity buses, which would cost N282 million, would be supplied through the “Move Nigeria Scheme” a federal government mass transit programme at 5 per cent interest rate.
Imam added that the 50 unit of buses will gulp N1.05 billion, saying the money would be sourced from a commercial bank with a 22 per cent interest rate, and that NSTA was expected to sustain itself and pay back the loans in 36 months.