Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has declared that ceding of federal roads to states may be difficult to achieve under the present constitution arrangement in the country.
Gbajabiamila, who said the federal roads in each State of the federation remain the exclusive assets of the federal government, hinted that it would require the amendment of the Privatisation Act in order for the transfer of such roads to States feasible.
The Speaker, however, said that other models could be worked out in terms of States fixing the federal roads and later get reimbursed by the Federal Government.
Gbajabiamila stated these on Wednesday while fielding questions from newsmen, shortly after meeting with the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, at his Oke Mosan office in Abeokuta.
The Speaker, responding to questions on the conditions of some federal roads in Ogun and whether the FG will be willing to hand over the roads to the State government, said: ‘It is legally impossible for the Federal Government to transfer roads to any State.’
While agreeing that Ogun is an industrial state with some nearly impassable federal roads, Gbajabiamila, said something must be done by the Federal Government to fix the roads, insisting that handing over the roads to Ogun might be a difficult task.
‘Ogun is an industrial state so to speak, and if you have several companies that are developing the State, and Nigeria situated in places where they are not passable, it makes that environment very difficult for them to work. So, those observations were received. It is for us to look at whether it is even possible legally for the Federal Government to transfer federal roads to any states, that I’m not sure how feasible that is. But there is more than one way to skin a cat. So even where that is not feasible, it might even require the amendment of the Privatisation Act. It’s the Federal Government assets.
‘But if that is not feasible, there are other models that we can look at in terms of other people fixing the roads and then the Federal Government owing them or setting off whatever debts owed by the State, so either way, something definitely needs to be done about those roads,’ he stated.
On why he came to visit the Governor, the Speaker said: ‘The Governor of the State has been a close person of mine for decades and I haven’t seen him since his inauguration, because of my workload, as well as his.
‘With this Sallah break, I just thought to stop by, to see him, encourage him because of all the things I have heard and some of the things that I have seen in terms of his giant strides in the last one year, and that is why am here. And we had a fruitful deliberation on ways the Federal Government and Ogun State can collaborate towards the advancement of the State.’