The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has on Monday, declared that no state could give the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing an ultimatum concerning the construction of a federal road project.
Fashola made this known while reacting to the ultimatum issued the FMWH by the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, as regards fixing the Sango/Ota-Abeokuta.
The minister, who spoke at the headquarters of the works ministry while hosting a delegation from PUNCH Newspapers, led by The PUNCH Editor, Dayo Oketola, also revealed that the Federal Government had got N16bn tax credit for the construction of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.
Recall that the Ogun State governor gave the Federal Government two weeks to fix the Sango/Ota-Abeokuta road, adding that failure to do so would make his administration take over reconstruction of the road.
Abiodun had stated this shortly after inspecting some bad portions of the 52.5km road in Ewekoro axis on Saturday.
He said the action had become necessary after the state government alongside Lagos State had made frantic efforts several times to draw the attention of the Federal Government, through the works ministry to repair the road without any positive response.
Abiodun then declared that his administration would not fold its arms and allow its citizenry to continue to suffer due to the negligence of the authority in charge of this road.
“If after two weeks, the Federal Government refuses to commence work on this road, I will take it over and reconstruct it,” he stated.
But when told on Monday that the Ogun governor had given an ultimatum to the FMWH to deliver the Sango/Ota-Abeokuta project or the state would take over the road construction, Fashola said, “I don’t take ultimatums from any state. I take ultimatum from the President, my employer.”
Asked whether the ministry would allow the state to handle the project, the minister replied, “Go and read the Federal Highways Act and see what it says about the management of federal roads. Can I take over a state road?”
On concerns about the delay in the construction of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, the minister explained that the speed of work on that road, as well as some others, were dependent on the funds available for such projects.
He, however, noted that the Federal Government had got N16bn tax credit for the Lagos-Badagry road and that work was progressing on the expressway currently.
Fashola said, “I was there about four weeks ago. But first of all let us understand; that road is about 60km plus, so before you start validating what people said, it is important for us to understand how democracy works.
“The executive proposes the sum, parliament approves it. So if the parliamentarians decide that it is their constituency that takes pre-eminence over the state, so be it.
“You are complaining about debt, where do you think money is going to come from to build the Badagry road? So that is why there was no progress on it in the past.”
He added, “But the reason why there has been progress now on that road is because we got tax credit for it, I think N16bn. But the total contract price is about N20bn plus. However, with N16bn go and see what has happened there.”
On the Lagos-Ota road, Fashola said the contract was over N50bn, “but go and look in the budget and see how much is there (for the road), may be N200m.”
He added, “It is us that got Sukuk this year of N7bn and so they working as the money allows them. And if we go and borrow you will complain. That Sukuk is debt. On Second Niger Bridge we are using 19 million litres of diesel supplied by Nigerians.”