FG rules out refund for Cross River’s N20b road projects
The Federal Government has ruled out refunding the N20 billion the Governor Ben Ayade administration is spending on the Tinapa-Odukpani junction dual carriage and the Odukpani junction spaghetti flyover in Cross River State.
The state has in the past two years struggled to fix the 16.7 kilometre dual carriage and the flyover estimated at N20 billion with the hope that the Federal Government would make refund when completed.
But the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who was inspecting the Calabar-Itu highway project at weekend, maintained that the federal road stops at Odukpani junction, adding that the portion leading to Calabar was now a municipal project, hence no refund from the central government.
He quoted the President as saying: “I won’t pay refund, do leave my road alone. But the state is happy to expand the road subject to our approval because that road is now a municipal road. I think it is important to understand that that road runs to the heart of Calabar town.”
Fashola stated further that the Nigerian leader said: “Our responsibility really is to connect states, not to build municipal roads. But at the time those roads were built, this was in the 70s or in the 60s, all of that place was forest. So if it becomes an urban centre, the state government is now installing street lamp poles, collecting advertising rights, let them use the money to build the road, that relieves us really. But we are struggling to raise money to build roads that connect states, drive the economy, move granites, move fuel, move agricultural produce, and not to build municipal roads inside the centre of town – that is the responsibility of the state government.”
On the Aba-Ikot Ekpene highway that motorists have abandoned for over 18 years, the minister said: “We had a contractor there who was not giving us the kind of service we wanted. We had to terminate that contract. We had awarded it now to a new contractor and that contract was awarded just in November.
“So you will see that we are just moving in site, you will have heard that the construction company, a Chinese company, said some of their equipment they are expecting from China are being delayed because of the public health concern, but we have advised them to hire some equipment from the local people and also mandated them to see what they can do to stabilise that road, make it better during the raining season.”
Meanwhile, the Director of Civil Engineering at the state Ministry of Works, Dr. Godwin Akeke, in a statement from the governor’s office said the Tinapa-Odukpani dualisation project would be delivered in the second quarter of the year.
His words: “The project is a dual carriage way designed to accommodate the increasing influx of vehicular traffic in and out of the state. With the commitment of the state governor, we are targeting to get one section of the road completed by mid-February and by end of the April, the road should be fully completed. The work done so far is 75 per cent and the width of the road is 20 metres.”
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