The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the sum of N4.852 billion for the completion of roads in Kwara and Osun states.
The council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari also approved the sum of N244 million for the procurement of raw materials for the production of vaccines by the National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom, Plateau State.
Briefing State House correspondents of the decisions of the council, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the approval of the road contracts followed memoranda he presented to the council for its consideration.
According to him, the first memorandum was for the 18-kilometre section of the Ajase-Ipo-Erinle-Offa Road in Kwara State, which he said connects Kwara State in North Central Nigeria to Osun State in South West of the country.
Fashola explained: “The approval was for the 18km section that completes the entire length of 26km of the road. All that was awarded in the previous administration was just eight km of the 26 km.
“So, what we have done now is to award the 18km so that the full stretch of 26km is now under contract for the purpose of completion.
“That comes to a sum of N4.027billion for the 18km stretch. The previous contract is still going on. So, this is an addendum to that contract.”
He added that the second approval given by the council was for the sum of N825 million variation for the Osogbo-Ilesa Road in Osun State.
He noted that the contract for the construction of the road was awarded in 2012 but was not funded.
According to Fashola, even though the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has done 76 per cent of the project, but the ministry needed the approval to expand the road by about three kilometres.
Fashola further said: “This is to expand the original contract by three kilometres link up to Osogbo town, the built-up section because it is supposed to by-pass the town.
“So, this the 3.4km that the governor requested when I went on the nation-wide road tour that we should help them connect it to Osogbo town.
“So, going through procurement and all of that, we finally got the approval today for N825million to include that part.”
On on the state of roads in the country, Fashola explained that truck owners and drivers exceed the prescribed axle load of 45,000 tons, getting up to 60,000 and even 90,000 tons.
He said the weight of the loads carried by the trucks has continued to cause damage to roads in the country.
The minister explained: “Those roads are not designed for that kind of tonnage. So we are also asked for enforcement from the loading points, the ports deport so that weights and measures are used from point of origin to ensure that no vehicles exceed 45,000 tons which are the approved axle load nationwide.
“As long as we continue to exceed and abuse with excess axle load there is no design that you will do that will last.”
He was however hopeful that with the development of the railway sector, the challenge of the cargo being carried by heavy trucks on the roads would be taken care off.
Also speaking at the briefing, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, explained the FEC approval of the sum of N244 million for production of vaccines by the National Veterinary Research Institute.
He said: “Mine was just simple, a contract of N244 million was approved by the Executive Council for the purchase of raw materials for the production of vaccines for use against animal diseases; poultry, dogs and other animals, by the National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom, which has been in existence for a very long time now.”
He stressed the importance of the institute in the production of vaccines to keep animals healthy.