• As Ugwuanyi seeks refund of over N25bn
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, at the weekend, announced the plan by the Federal Government to raise bonds to refund billions of Naira owed states which have spent their money in rehabilitating federal roads in their respective domains.
He spoke in Enugu yesterday during his courtesy call on Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. The governor used the occasion to appeal to the Federal Government to refund over N25 billion which the state government had expended in rehabilitating federal roads across the state.
The governor, who was represented on the occasion by his deputy, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo, told the minister that in the face of the dilapidating federal road infrastructure in the Southeast region, the people of the area had continued to suffer untold hardship.
Fashola, who was in Enugu to inspect some federal roads in the state, stated that the Federal Government had carefully assessed the various claims by the concerned state governments and had concluded arrangement to refund the money through the said bonds.
He said: “We have also been briefed about your intervention on certain roads that are our roads and I and your commissioner have discussed about the outstanding claim from the Federal Government. My message from the Federal Government is that we have completed the assessment of all these claims and the total amounts owed the states far exceed the total amounts as to the whole country.”
“The plan of the Federal Government is to issue bonds to pay those monies and then we pay the bonds back overtime,” he stated.
He urged the state government to assist the contractors handling federal roads in the state to secure the right of way.
Governor Ugwuanyi, represented by his deputy, Mrs. Ezeilo, regretted the neglect of the federal roads in the South-east states, especially Enugu which, according to him, necessitated the intervention of the State government in rehabilitating some of the federal roads in her domain. He, therefore, requested the Federal Government to hasten action in fixing the remaining roads.
The people of Enugu State and, indeed, the entire South -east region have for long suffered untold hardship arising from the collapse of most of the federal roads in the area.”
“This, of course, has been a great cause for concern for us as a people and has continued to attract comments and complaints from well meaning citizens and organizations across the country and even beyond’, the deputy governor added on behalf of Governor Ugwuanyi.
He stressed that the refund of over N25billion the State expended in rehabilitating the federal roads would assist the state in other critical areas of needs. A breakdown of the N25bn owed the state government by the federal government showed that the request for refund of the initial sum of N22.8bn had been presented to the Federal Government, while a request for the refund of another N2.297bn being cost of the latest work on other federal roads in the state was made yesterday.
The governor assured the Federal Government of his administration’s readiness to assist it in obtaining right of ways to facilitate work on the roads.