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Melaye seeks probe of N797b road project, plans protest

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The Senator Dino Melaye-led Anti-Corruption Network has described the proposed N797 billion budget for the Abuja /Kaduna /Zaria/Kano road as outrageous and ridiculous, calling for probe.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved over N797.2 billion for the project, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, told journalists, adding that the council also approved the change of scope for the project.

Acording to him, the road, hitherto undergoing renovation, would be completely reconstructed, thus changing the existing cost from N155 billion to N797.2 billion

But addressing journalists in Abuja yesterday, Melaye lamented that “the cost of road construction in Nigeria has been consistently outrageous, which calls for serious scrutiny.”

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According to him, the project would probably be the most expensive road construction on earth at the average of $6 million (N2.1 billion) per kilometre.

The former senator, citing a report by the World Bank, also wondered why the project should cost so such when one kilometre of road would cost just N238 million.

“This figure is the benchmark that usually shouldn’t be surpassed regardless of several factors,” he said. Melaye warned that if the cost were not scrutinised, the group would mobilise Nigerians for a nationwide protest.

He said: “Research also shows that in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, it will cost N33 million ($194,000) to build one kilometre of paved road. In Liberia, the cost of building a kilometre road has been estimated at $1 million. But the story is obviously different in Nigeria, the most populous black nation on earth.

“It has become almost a norm for a kilometre of road in Nigeria to cost more than N1 billion to construct.”
He wondered why Nigeria posts the highest budget in road construction in Africa?

“This is obviously part of the corrupt activities that the Anti-Corruption Network was set up to fight against. We, therefore, use this medium to register our displeasure over the award of road construction contract by the Federal Executive Council on March 3, 2021,” he added.

The group described the contract sum as outrageous and ridiculous; hence should be scrutinised.

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