Federal roads: FG has paid over N725bn as refund to states ― Fashola

The Federal Government has paid over N725 billion to the 36 states of the federation as part of the refund to the state government’s expenditures on federal roads in their states, Babatunde Raji Fashola, Minister for Works and Housing, has revealed.

This is as the Minister has commended the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike for the massive urban regeneration and urban renewal of Port Harcourt.

Fashola disclosed that the approval for the refund was made in two tranches of N577 billion and N148 billion, saying that the refund was approved across all states and across party lines.

Speaking on Saturday at the commissioning of the Rebisi Flyover, one of the five ongoing projects in Rivers State he said that in the last tranche of N148 billion Rivers State got a lion’s share of N78 billion.

He, however, urged the people not to think that the money was already paid as the approval would required of the National Assembly before final payment.

Against the widely held view, the Minister of Works and Housing also informed that former Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi was the champion among the ministers to secure the refund for the states.

He said: “It (the refund) was the initiative of President Mohammadu Buhari that it was only fair and just to refund to states monies they have spent on federal roads and it was done across party lines without discrimination.

“Let me also say now that Governor Wike has come out into the open about this, you may have had some stories that Rotimi Amaechi, my colleague in the Federal Executive Council was somehow not happy. Nothing can be farther than the truth, the champion for the refund among the ministers was Rotimi Amaechi himself.

“Let me say as I have said in all the 36 states of the federation that I have visited as a minister, the Federal Government is not in competition with any state. Our responsibility and our mandate for Mr President is to support the developmental initiatives and aspirations of every state.

“Our elections happen only once in every four years, but our developmental challenges happen every day, so we have no choice who to serve, we serve the people of Nigeria.”

Speaking earlier before the commissioning, Governor Nyesom Wike expressed gratitude to God for the grace for the completion of the project four months before the scheduled delivery date.

He also commended Julius Berger for not abandoning the site in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to ensure timely delivery of the job.

He said that the other three, the Rumuogba, Okoronodu and GRA flyovers would be completed in December 2020 January and March 2021, respectively.

Wike said: “It is on record, it has never happened where a state government can carry out four flyovers at the same time, we are not working with contractors of low repute, this is a company the whole world knows, that Julius Berger to deal with them, you must have their money available.

“I am so happy today that I made a promise to my people and I have fulfilled that promise. We are going to start the sixth flyover at this Kaduna junction. Julius Berger is carrying out the soil tests.

“Those who are criticizing that we are doing all these things in Port Harcourt, I have no apologies to anyone, if I had more money I would do more flyovers,” he stated.

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