Dave Umahi, Minister of Works, has told state governors that the Federal Government cannot refund money spent on federal roads by state governments for now.
The former Ebonyi State governor spoke on Thursday when he visited Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State in Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the minister is on a two-day working visit to the state.
”The economy right now will not permit any commitment by the Federal Government.
”However, records of such road projects done by the states would be kept and could be revisited when the economy improves,” he said.
He commended Makinde for his administration’s intervention in road projects.
The minister said that the intervention was alleviating the suffering of people.
“Be it state or federal roads, we are one government. The aim and oath of office is to place the welfare of the people ahead of any other interest,” he said.
Umahi urged Makinde to embrace Concrete Pavement Technology in road construction projects, saying it was more durable and less expensive than asphalt roads.
He said road projects with concrete pavement in Lagos State had been successful, adding that he built almost 95 per cent of road projects on concrete pavement as Governor of Ebonyi State.
Speaking on the purpose of his visit to Oyo State, the minister said that he was touring Federal Government road projects in the South-West.
Umahi said he had met with all the contractors handling road projects in North-West, North-Central and South-West, in Abuja.
“After the meeting, I decided to visit these projects to know the quality of work done and other things on the ground,” he said.
He further sought more cooperation from the Oyo State Government in achieving success on the Federal Government’s projects in the state.
Responding, Makinde appreciated the minister for the visit.
According to him, Umahi’s track record while governing Ebonyi speaks for itself.
The governor said his administration prioritised roads as a project that is important to the economy.
“We are committed to rehabilitation and reconstruction of many road projects, be it state or federal roads.
“For example, the 34km Oyo-Iseyin Road took us two years to get approval from the Federal Government and we awarded it to the contractor immediately after we secured the approval because of its importance to the agri-business of the state.
“The road will be inaugurated on September 15 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. We are not asking for a refund immediately but the records are there and we will give it to the minister,” he said.
Makinde further said his administration would continue to invest in road infrastructure for the development of the state.
He told the minister of his willingness to partner with the Federal Government to dualise the Oyo State portion of the Ibadan-Abeokuta Road.
The governor also informed the minister that he had agreed with his counterparts in Ogun and Lagos states to light up the Lagos-Ibadan Road.
He said the road is the busiest road in the country and that lighting the entire stretch of the road would enhance security on its corridor.