House to Investigate Uncompleted N200bn Lokoja-Benin Road Project

1

Udora Orizu in Abuja

The House of Representatives at the plenary yesterday ordered investigation into the rehabilitation and expansion of the road linking Lokoja in Kogi State to Benin-city, Edo State, which has gulped N200billion.

The order followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Johnson Oghuma, just as the House also asked the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, to put formidable security apparatus and strategy to stop the incessant bank robberies in Osun State.

Moving the motion titled: ‘Need to Investigate the Utilisation of over N200 billion on Construction of Lokoja to Benin Road’, Oghuma noted that the dualisation of the Lokoja–Benin federal highway from Obajana junction to Benin-city, was awarded to a consortium of contractors in 1999 with a completion date of December 2021.

He said: “Over N200billion has been budgeted from 1999 to 2021 in addition to the various loans and interventions projects such as SUKUK, among others. The road is a major highway connecting routes from the North to East, South–south and western parts of Nigeria. The House is dismayed that the Lokoja–Benin section is now a death trap, as people can no longer travel safely, and what was a three-hour trip has now become a day journey, and sometimes impassable.

“The House is concerned that if no urgent intervention to construct the Lokoja-Benin oad is taken, lives and goods worth billions of naira will be destroyed. The House is desirous of the need to unearth the latent and obvious reasons behind the total abandonment of the road projected for completion in December 2021.”

The House also urged the IG and other relevant authorities to relocate the 39th Mopol Unit to Ikirun, Ifelodun Local Government Area headquarters, where the unit was to be located to curtail the escalating crime rate in the area.

The resolutions were sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Rasheed Afolabi at the plenary yesterday.

Moving the motion, Afolabi, while decrying repeated attacks on banks in the area, noted that the primary responsibility of the government to the citizens is the protection of the right of life and property as guaranteed by Section 33(1) of the 1999 Constitution.

He noted that four bank robberies had been recorded within three local government areas in recent times.

The lawmaker expressed concerns over the seemingly abysmally presence of security personnel on ground who are usually overwhelmed and gruesomely murdered in cold blood.

According to him, “The House notes the persistent and unabated rate of deadly armed robbery attacks targeted at banks in Odo–Otin/lfelodun/Boripe federal constituency, which has paralysed economic activities. The House also notes the recent robbery attack on September 28, 2021, where criminals invaded and looted Wema Bank at Iragbiji in Boripe LGA, killing innocent citizens.

“The House further notes that the dastardly robberies started on February 12, 2016, when three commercial banks namely: Skye Bank (now Polaris), First Bank and Union Bank, were simultaneously robbed in Ikirun, and 10 people killed in the carnage. The House observes that within this year, three distinct bank robbery incidents had taken place in the remaining two LGAs that made up the federal constituency, thus subjecting residents to perpetual fear, economic woes as a result of the relocation of all the banks to neighbouring communities several kilometres away from Odo–Otin/lfelodun/Boripe constituency.”