FG, Ogun to finance Lagos-Ota- Abeokuta Expressway reconstruction

The Federal Government on Thursday proposed to jointly rehabilitate the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta expressway with the Ogun State government.

The proposal was made by the Minister of Works, Engr. Dave Umahi, during a courtesy call on Governor Dapo Abiodun in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

The minister was on a tour of federal roads in the State, along with officials of the ministry.

Umahi, while responding to Governor Abiodun on the frustration experienced by Ogun and Lagos States during the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to get the road done, disclosed that the period of bureaucracy in road construction in the country was over.

Umahi noted that if the Federal Government is looking for corporate organisations to get involved in road construction and management, state governments should not be denied the same opportunity.

He said, “Let me say something about the frustration you had while you and the Lagos State government wrote to take over the reconstruction of the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta road. Let me announce to you that it falls under our new program, HDMI, which is the High Way Development Management Initiative. It is a public-private partnership programme.

“People should begin to look at a state as a corporate entity. If you are looking for investors to come and invest on our roads; to construct, to own, to maintain and toll, why shouldn’t a state do that?

Your excellency, we have started the inspection already in your state. Let me thank you for the beautiful road you built along Epe. I was rather flying, not driving on that road. It link Lagos and what it means is that those going to the north and the east can easily avoid the Island.

“So, on this Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta road, I want us to work together, we’ve done 30% of the work. You can own 60%, we own 40% and you can do your portion of the 60%. You can give it to a contractor of your choice.

“I don’t believe in bureaucracy; we cannot reset the economy with the type of bureaucracy we have.

“If I get your request on this by WhatsApp, I will respond to you immediately. We will handle it under our HDMI.”

The minister spoke on some other federal roads in the state, with some of them under reconstruction. According to him, the Ikorodu-Sagamu remains about 8 kilometres to be completed, with the deadline for its completion set for November.

“The construction of Abeokuta-Ajebo road is ongoing and is about 21% completed. But we are going to redesign many portions to be on concrete. It’s on Sukuk. But Sukuk funding is not too progressing in terms of the desired pace of work. We are going to look at it again.

“We have the construction of overlay of Benin-Ore-Sagamu dual carriageway. That’s phase 4. Benin to Ore has been completed and we inspected the remaining one, being handled by RCC. Funding is an issue. We are also going to redesign it and working with you, we are going to chase for fund so that we complete that.

Then we have the rehabilitation of the 77kilometres Ota-Abeokuta road. 30% has been done with Sukuk and budget funding. Julius Berger is requesting for the review of the prices and we are also going to review it in line with our new policy. We also have the Papalanto to the Benin Republic border. This is being done by Dangote through the Tax Credit Scheme.

“Papalanto is not ongoing because we need to do review and for us to ginger Dangote. It is important to note that I had a meeting with Lafarge. It is good for you to engage Lafarge so they can also get involved in this tax credit scheme to ensure the stability of the road that they are passing. I would want to work with you to fast track it. Others are doing it; BUA, Dangote. We are also talking with the cement manufacturers. How they can reduce the cost of cement. We are going to be doing bulk-buying; their turnover is going to increase. So, it’s win-win for them”.

“But the policy on our road construction with reinforce concrete is also going to put pressure on cement manufacturers. Their capacity now cannot meet 30% of our requirement. So, it is for them to now expand their factories and that will create jobs and reduce the pressure on forex”.

We’ve inspected the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, a total of 127 kilometres. But majority of the road is in Ogun State, I think about 81kilometres. Let me announce that the entire pavement in Ogun State have been completed. Berger is doing about 43kilometres of the road, while RCC is doing the rest. The entire stretch of the road will be ready by the end of September. But there will still be other small works going on; the drainage, median works, will take us to end of November.

Your excellency, we need your attention because Berger, when they finished they won’t delay on site, that is the three interchanges, which we visited. They are complaining bitterly about idling on site if compensation is not paid. We are pleading that compensation be paid by your excellency, so that they can now conclude work on those flyovers. It’s going to be a wonderful thing because each time Redeem or other people have their programmes, that road is blocked. With the Interchanges, nobody is going to block the road again.

We inspected the rehabilitation of Ikorodu-Sagamu Road. Part of it is being done with concrete. I am here to also authoritatively introduce concrete road pavement to your excellency as the way to build enduring road projects and also cut down on our pressure on dollar. We employ more people, we develop more cement factories in Nigeria and a guarantee of 50 years of no maintenance. We are here to do that and we’ve seen it in Lagos. The Lagos State government has done a quite substantial of it and Dangote has also done that.

“When you have good roads, you reduce insecurity. When you have good roads, the economy will boom, education and health will thrive. So, road is one critical infrastructure that will touch every other sector. The president is committed in fixing our roads, not only fixing it but doing it in such a way that they last for 50 years”.

The Minister who also noted that the Federal Government under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is open to any state willing to have a Public Private Partnership programme (PPP) with them, said that the Federal Government is also planning to bring new security initiatives on the highways.

Umahi expressed appreciation to the Ogun State government for its commitment to repairing roads in its domain, whether state or federal.

“In Ogun State, nobody is saying this is federal roads, this is state roads. When people are suffering, they don’t understand which one is which. Fix the roads and we can talk about who owns it. Anyone that is shouting and complaining is playing politics,” he said.

Addressing the entourage, Abiodun recalled what he and his colleague in Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu went through in getting the Federal Government’s permission to take over the reconstruction of the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta expressway.

He regretted that despite meeting some of the requirements by the Federal Government, the two states were frustrated, leading to further deterioration of the road.

He said: “I would like to highlight the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta road, Ota is a city that has earned us the prestigious title of being the industrial capital of Nigeria. It is a city where we share boundaries with Lagos State and you can hardly tell the difference between Ota and Lagos State.

“That road, I think the contract must have been awarded maybe in 2012 or 2010 under the administration of President Obasanjo. Since then, the contract has been subjected to so many reviews.

“When I assumed office, Governor Sanwo-Olu and I went to see President Buhari and we wrote one letter on a joint letterhead requesting for that road to be transferred to us.

“We brought a letter from our bankers. At that point in time, it was probably about N70 billion, saying that this N70 billion that we want to put into the reconstruction of the road.

“Then, there was no Minister. We were told that because the road is under contract, what they would like to do is to partner with the states and we said okay, let us sit down, and discuss on the basis of the partnership.

“That road is about 77 kilometres, let us discuss the basis of that partnership, Your Excellency, we made no progress.”

The governor commended the Federal Government for bringing a new lease of life into the way and manner that approvals are given for road construction.

Abiodun expressed the hope that the Federal Government would help to fast-track the reconstruction of the Sagamu end of the Sagamu-Ore road.

“I am hoping that you will be able to help us fast track the construction of Sagamu-Ore road because we as a state government have continued to maintain that road, I am hoping you could use your good office to assist us in ensuring that the road is funded,” he said.

Facebook Comments

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker