FEC Approves N309bn for Roads, N1.8bn for Abuja University

Babatunde Raji Fashola

Repair of roads hampered by rainfalls, says Fashola

Omololu Ogunmade and Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday in Abuja approved a total of N309.659 billion for the construction of three roads in three geo-political zones of the country.

The roads are Ibadan -Ilesha dual carriage way in the South-west, second Niger bridge link roads in the South-east and Kano-Katsina highway in the North-west.

The council also approved N1.833 billion for the construction of Faculty of Education and Faculty of Environment, respectively, in the University of Abuja.

This is coming as the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has said that the repair of major roads in the country, which had broken down, would commence with the stoppage of the annual rainfalls.

Briefing State House reporters at the end of the weekly FEC meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Fashola said Ibadan – Ilesha dual carriage way was awarded at the cost of N79.829 billion.

He also said Asaba-Onitsha link roads connecting the Second Niger Bridge to Asaba and Onitsha were awarded at the cost of N200.176 billion and Kano-Katsina highway at the cost of N29.654 billion.

He explained that the approval was sequel to the presentation of three memoranda of understanding to the council.

“The Ministry of Works and Housing presented three memoranda and they were approved by the council. The first is for the construction of Ibadan -Ile-Ife-Ilesha dual carriage way. They are connected to Oyo and Osun states at the cost of N79.829 billion.

“The second is for the link-roads that connect the second Niger Bridge to Asaba and Onitsha. The Asaba link-road was awarded to Julius Berger and the Onitsha link-road was awarded to Iweno Construction Company at the total cost of N200.176 billion. So, this completes essentially the access road that will link the bridge in the short time. “You might recall that these roads were under-designed when the bridge was awarded. So, it is this administration that completed the designs and we now awarded them so that you can have a bridge that has link-roads. This was awarded initially under a public private partnership (PPP) and the bridge in 2010 administration.

“The third approval was for phase two of the Kano-Katsina highway from the point known as Gidan-Mutum Daya all the way to where Katsina Steel Rolling Mill is. This is a 78 kilometre-stretch approved at the sum of N29.654 billion. That road is a 172-kilometre road linking Kano and Katsina from Kano.

“It was awarded for the first 70 kilometres plus for the phase one. What we have now done is to complete the award to the same contractor so that there is a uniformity of construction,” he said.

In his own briefing, Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, said the Ministry of Education presented one memorandum, which was approved as TETFUND intervention programme for the construction of two faculties in the University of Abuja.

According to him, the contract for the construction of the Faculty of Environment was awarded at the cost of N915 million while the contract for the construction of Faculty of Education was awarded at N918 million.

Meanwhile, Fashola has said that the repair of major roads in the country, which had broken down would commence with the stoppage of the annual rainfalls.

The minister added that rainfalls prevented the federal government from effecting the repairs.

Fashola, in a statement issued yesterday from his ministry, listed some of the major roads that will get repaired immediately the rains stop.

He noted that they were particularly roads leading to fuel depots in the country in order to enhance fuel distribution and ease the usual high traffic between the periods of September and December.

The statement noted that the minister received a request from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for roads leading to fuel depots to be repaired to avoid disruption in fuel distribution across the country.

In response to the request, he said that arrangements were already being put in place to fix such roads and a number of those, which their conditions had deteriorated as a result of heavy rainfalls.

The roads to be repaired, he noted, would include Suleja-Bida-Lapai-Lambata; Oyo–Ogbomosho-Ilorin; Jebba-Mokwa-Tegina; Benin-Sapele-Warri; Benin-Auchi-Okenne; Enugu-Onitsha; Awka-Amansea and Odukpani-Itu roads.

According to him, the Suleja-Lambata-Minna Road was in a fairly good condition, but its failed portions were slated for emergency repairs during the months while work was going ongoing on the Bida-Lapai-Lambata Roads where the contractor handling it has stabilised a substantial part of it.

He further explained that the Bida–Minna Road belonged to the Niger State Government and not the federal government but was in a fairly good condition while repair of the Suleja –Lambata –Minna Road is funded by the Sukuk funding scheme.

He also disclosed that the ministry had commenced discussions with the contractors handling the various road projects for the commencement of repair and rehabilitation works as soon as the rains subside.

Fashola said approval had been given for the Engineering Corps of the Nigerian Army to repair the bad portions of the Bokani-Makera-Tegina-Birnin Gwari Road in Niger and Kaduna states and that the road is currently under procurement due to the security situation in that axis.

Apart from the rains, funding he said was also a challenge to the road repairs but gave an assurance that the government would endeavour to meet its financial obligations to the contractors handling the various road projects to ensure that they returned to the sites.

Further on other roads, he said work on the Oyo-Ogbomosho-Ilorin Road was ongoing by the contractor handling the project.

He said the road was one of the projects that received dedicated funding under Sukuk.

“Although the project is being challenged by the current weather situation and funding, the old alignment of the Oyo-Ogbomosho route is receiving palliative attention,” he said.

On the Ilorin –Jebba –Mokwa road, which was reportedly being dualised, Fashola stated that it has been divided into two sections with Ilorin –Jebba in Kwara State as one, while the other comprised Jebba–Mokwa–Bokani Junction in Niger State, and which mobilisation for has not been completed.

For Okene–Lokoja Road, he said it was in four sections and under Sukuk funding, adding that all the contractors handling the various sections had been directed to do palliative work on the failed portions of the road.

According to Fashola, while a contractor currently works on the Enugu-Onitsha Road, the bad portions of the Awka-Amansea Road were being repaired by the Anambra state government.

For the Odukpani-Itu Road, he noted that the contracting firm handling the project had left the site as a result of the challenges of the weather situation and funding, adding that the ministry would intensify efforts to address the challenges for the company to return to site as soon as possible.