Federal Roads: Jonathan Gives Conditions For States, LGs Intervention
SAN FRANCISCO, April 18, (THEWILL) – President Goodluck Jonathan, Thursday, said States and Local Governments are free to repair and rehabilitate federal roads in their domain if they have enough funds to complete the projects.
Maintaining that due process must also be followed in such interventions, Jonathan said failure to follow due process as laid down by the Federal Government in the execution of such projects may result in the non-reimbursement of the money spent.
The president explained this while responding to an issue raised by the Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, on the constant friction between his state and the Federal Ministry of Works over the state of federal roads in the state.
Jonathan listed conditions for venturing into federal roads as solvency on the part of the State or Local Government, saying they must work in tandem with the Federal Government by streamlining its cost to meet the availability of funds in federal coffers and strict observance of due diligence as outlined by federal procedures.
"If you want the Federal Government to participate in terms of cost, you will have to tell us. But we cannot pay more than what we have unless you want us to start having issues with the legislature," the president observed, adding " we cannot pay more than what we have.”
Jonathan, who also stressed the need for peace as a necessity for development and good governance, spoke at the inauguration of the multi-million naira WEMPCO Steel Mill cold rolled steel at Kilometre 8, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Magboro, Ogun State, where he and Amosun were guests.
Amosun had called on the Federal Government to call the federal agencies to order, saying their opposition to states’ efforts is stalling the development of the roads, which , according to him, are very important to the socio-economic development of the state.
He specifically mentioned the state of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, 87 per cent of which, he said, passes through his state, offering that his administration is willing to partner with the Federal Government to ensure that it is completed and available to motorists, so that lots of developmental projects going on in the state could be further enhanced and boosted.
Jonathan however assured Amosun that there is no controversy in the matter but a gap in communication between the state and the Federal Ministry of Works. "Such a gap is not supposed to arise. There is no controversy in any state or Local Government intervening in what the Federal Government is supposed to do. All Nigerians want are good roads," he explained.
He said he will direct the Minister of Works to circulate the relevant document covering the matter to all tiers of government so that they will be properly informed about what is expected of them whenever they decide to take on any federal road project.
He recalled that when he was deputy governor in Bayelsa State, his erstwhile boss, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, concerned about the sorry state of the Mbiama-Yenagoa road, had embarked on its rehabilitation without informing the Federal Government, but in the end the state wasn't paid back what it spent because due process was flouted.
"Assuming you have enough money, you can go ahead without observing federal due process, but we won’t refund you," he said , assuring Nigerians that despite the vastness of roads crying for attention in the country, to which there is no magic wand to fix them overnight, "they will be motorable within two years.”