Kebbi State Governor and the Chairman Progressives Governors’ Forum, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu has expressed immense appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for approving refunds to state governments which rehabilitated federal roads in their states .
The governor made the commendation when the Minister of State for Works, Engineer Abubakar Aliyu paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Birnin Kebbi over the weekend.
He said the “kind gesture of President Muhammad Buhari to approve the refunds to states on equitable basis without discrimination was highly commendable”.
According to him, Kebbi State is one of the States with Federal roads, the visit by the team to assess federal roads reconstructed by Kebbi State for reimbursement is a welcome one, he said.
Bagudu further opined that with improved roads, Kebbi’s agricultural produce can reach out to the world.
“I appreciate the kind gesture of visiting the state this time to help in assessing what we did, I than the Hon .Minister of Works , Baba Raji Fashola .
The governor was full of praises for President Muhammad Buhari for the completion of Sokoto/Tambuwal /Kontagora road which he described as one of the most important roads in the state serving as a gateway to Abuja and Lagos.
‘Hitherto before the repairs of the road, it has been a nightmare to commuters. This is one of the uncompleted roads inherited by this administration, gladly, President Muhammad Buhari completed the road’, he averred.
He said road as a major component of infrastructure spending is very expensive, citing example of the cost of constructing a double coated road to over a hundred million naira per kilometer.
The Chairman Progressives Governors’Forum added that even though Nigeria is facing inflation and limited flow of revenue into its coffers, the President through the Federal Ministry of Works paid attention to completing and building new roads, describing the feat as great achievement.
” The Federal Ministry of Works and all those who facilitated this must be commended.
‘ Equally, most of the debts , the over 500 billion naira that was paid by this administration were inherited debts that were there before the administration came in.
‘ President Muhammad Buhari in his usual charismatic magnanimity and patriotism, to support the state, to support the economy and to compensate effort decided to approve the refunds to states’ he commeded.
The governor in the end requested the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Works to consider reimbursing the state for the Kalgo/Bunza/Kamba road.
On his part , Minister of State, Works and Housing, Engineer, Abubakar Aliyu told the governor that he was in Kebbi with his team to ascertain the work carried out by the state government on the construction of some federal roads in the state.
He averred “Out of the total distance of roads we have across the country, 34,000kms plus are under the jurisdiction of the federal government out of which we are currently working on over 13,000kms simultaneously with over 800 contracts currently ongoing.
According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari had given approval for the payment of N477 billion, which was shared among the 25 states respectively, adding that “this is the third set of which Kebbi is among, alongside Yobe and Taraba States.
‘ The Federal Government had also refunded N143 billion to five states for constructing federal roads.
“As I am talking to you, by tomorrow, the Hon. Minister of Works and Housing will be in Yobe to ascertain and verify their road construction, while the Hon. Minister of Education will be in Taraba to do a similar job.
“Before now, some states may find it extremely necessary, because of urgency, to approach the federal government to seek permission to construct federal roads that are within their states.
“The federal government will give them the permission and they will be reimbursed later. Before 2016 or around that period, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) set up a committee to verify and clear road construction executed by some state governments.
“The committee headed by the Minister of Works and Housing, Hon. Babatunde Raji Fashola was able to clear and verify 25 states who built federal government roads in their states.”
Earlier, the Hon Commissioner for Works in Kebbi State, Alhaji Abubakar Chika-Ladan told the governor that he led the visitors on inspection of Dabai-Mahuta-Koko road which was constructed in 2006 at the cost of N4.8 billion as well as Malando-Garin Baka-Ngaski 45 km road which gulped N2.2 billion in 2007.