Great Tension!!! President Buhari’s Super Minister, Babatunde Fashola, On The Hot Seat, Gets Drilled On A Very Important National Issue

By Joshua Amaugo May 11, 2018 19:31

Great Tension!!! President Buhari’s Super Minister, Babatunde Fashola, On The Hot Seat, Gets Drilled On A Very Important National Issue

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has disclosed that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, has almost fixed all the Federal roads across the country, as it has invested N260 billion in the past three years.

Fashola made this known while speaking at the 4th Quadrennial Delegates’ Conference of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers branch of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, in Abuja.

According to him, under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the Federal Government, about N300 billion had been committed to Nigerian roads from 2015 and 2018, stressing that, it was one thing to have a plan, and another to commit to the faithful implementation of the plan.

He said: “If you think this is not important, let me remind you that in 2015, only N18 billion was budgeted for all Nigerian roads in the Ministry of Works. Only N9 billion was funded at the time when Nigeria’s oil was selling at close to $100 per barrel.

“This was at the time of the Transformation Agenda, when commitment fell significantly behind stated objectives. But what has changed under the ERGP, is that the Buhari government has committed close to N300 billion to roads, and funded about N260 billion at a time when oil prices are manifestly below the 2015 figures”, Fashola said.

Post-Nigeria gathered that Fashola had told his listeners that he was yet to start his campaign for the current government, stating that the action points and achievements of the current administration were not accidental.

“On the contrary, they reveal a clear thinking and understanding of what must be done to rebuild our economy and underline the inter-connectivity between availability of quality infrastructure, and the delivery of energy from petroleum products to drive our economy”, he added.

The Minister, further noted that the results of road construction by the government, would mean reduced journey time, adding that, activities on the roads were been revived, as Contractors had returned to various project sites.

He said: “Although, there is a very long list of critical roads that support petroleum distribution, I cannot fail to mention the recent award of the Ikorodu-Shagamu road, that services the Mosimi Depot, where work will soon commence.

“Similarly, our Ministry is working to finalize the procurement and award of the Apapa, Tin Can, Mile 2, Oshodi to Oworonshoki highway.

“I just returned from road project inspection in Kebbi and Jigawa States, last night, where our Contractors informed me that bitumen producers and suppliers were now struggling to cope with demand.

“These are clear signs of a business boom and employment, not only for transporters of the products like your members, but also for the manufacturers”, Fashola said.

Reacting to Fashola’s statement however, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, on Thursday, called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on the country’s roads, so as to reduce the huge number of lives and property being lost to accidents, due to the bad state of the roads around the country.

According to NUPENG, contrary to Fashola’s claims, Nigerian roads have become death traps and nightmares to commuters, portraying him as a liar.

The National President, NUPENG, Williams Akporeha, noted that although the current administration had been working hard to fix the highways, a lot is still needed to be done.

Speaking at the Delegates’ Conference, Akporeha explained that the growth and development of a country, lies in an effective transportation system.

The NUPENG President, said that since most people in Nigeria depend on road transport for movement of goods and services, there was a need for the government to address the dilapidated state of the roads to meet the rising demand of users.

“We know the present regime has been working hard to properly fix our highways, but a lot still has to be done.

“We earnestly call on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on Nigerian roads, so as to attract urgent attention, as no economy thrives without good roads and effective transportation system”, NUPENG President said.

Recall, that the House of Representatives had in one of their legislative sittings, called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on dilapidated Federal roads in the country, and initiate measures to rehabilitate them.

The call was sequel to a motion by Honourable Segun Adekola (Ekiti-PDP), and Honourable Afe Olowookere (Ondo-APC).

Moving the motion, Adekola explained that the dilapidated state of most Federal roads that linked all parts of the Federation, was causing concern to citizens. He also expressed concern that budgetary allocations for rehabilitation and maintenance of the roads, were usually less than 45 percent, whereas road infrastructure deficit was estimated in 2015 at N2 trillion.

He added that: “The absence of railway system covering the length of the country, makes road transportation the most widely available means of movement from one part of the country to another, and in the process, exerting immense toll on the road network.

“The zero budgeting system being implemented by the Federal Government is affecting effective rehabilitation and construction of roads in the country, given that there is no alternative means of funding this critical sector.

“The House is concerned by the absence of public-private partnership scheme, and the failure of successive administrations to prioritize road construction and maintenance, such that practically all Federal roads like Owo-Ikare-Kabba, Ikare-Omuo-Kabba, Ipele-Kabba, Isua-Ibilo-Okene, Okene-Obajana, Abuja-Lokoja-Okene, Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Okigwe-Umuahia, Enugu-Awka-Onitsha, among others, are at various states of disrepair.’’

The Lawmaker, also expressed concern over the harrowing experiences commuters go through on the roads, in form of accidents and attacks by hoodlums who rob and kill at will.

Fashola, nonetheless, responding to road crashes across the country as a result of bad roads, disputed the fact; insisting that majority of the roads have been fixed, as excessive speeding by motorists remained the greatest cause of road crashes across the country.

He reiterated that while the roads accounted for less than 10 percent of accidents, more than 75 percent of recorded accidents were fall outs of excessive speeding by motorists.

Fashola noted further, that the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, regularly availed him of statistics on road accidents.

The Minister, pointed out that besides speeding, other factors, including breach of traffic rules, were responsible for road accidents in the country.

He said a lot of lives would be saved, if motorists adhered to traffic rules and avoid excessive speeding.

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