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Buhari’s request to pay Kogi N10b: Other states demand payment for projects executed

…FG owes A’Ibom, Rivers, C’River over N267bn on road rehabilitation

…As Taraba claims N40bn; Anambra, N12bn; Adamawa, N4.6bn; Plateau, N4bn

By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Sam Oyadongha, Jimitota Onoyume, Egufe Yafugborhi, Umar Yusuf; Emmanuel Una; Marie-Therese Nanlong; Harris Emmanuel, Ike Uchechukwu; Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu; Femi Bolaji and Paul Olayemi

President Muhammadu Buhari, last Tuesday sought the approval of the Senate to pay N10b to Kogi State as refund for projects executed by the state on behalf of the Federal Government.

President Buhari charges groups to access loans
President Buhari

In his letter to the Senate which was read by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, the president said following his request in his first term, the 8th Senate passed three resolutions approving the issuance of promissory notes to 24 out of the 25 State Governments that requested for refunds for projects they did on behalf of the FG.

He said the only State for which approval has not been given was Kogi State with an outstanding claim of N10.069B.

According to the president, “the claim of all the 25 States for project executed on behalf of the Federal Government were verified by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and the Bureau of Public Procurement for which the Federal Executive Council approved the claims which they were forwarded for the approval of the National Assembly. He said that the Federal Government has therefore issued promissory notes to all the 24 State Governments for the settlement of their claims.

“Accordingly the Senate is hereby requested to kindly approve the issuance of promissory notes in the sum of N10, 069, 692, 410.15 to Kogi State for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government”.

After reading the President’s letter on floor of the Senate, Lawan then referred the request to the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt for further legislative work and to report back to plenary in two weeks.

The president’s request has however generated interest from some states which have also executed projects in their various states on behalf of the Federal Government but have not been refunded. Some officials of the affected state governments wondered why President Buhari singled out Kogi for payment at this period when their own claims were still outstanding. It was unclear if these states have officially made the claims as the President’s letter referred to the states Federal Government said had officially made claims.

In the South-South region, the Federal Government is owing Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Rivers States over N267 billion on federal roads reconstructed and patched up, over the years, Saturday Vanguard has gathered.

The actual debts owed Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states were unconfirmed at press time.

Akwa Ibom is owed N142 billion, Cross River has spent N25 billion, while Rivers state has expended over N100 billion on federal roads, waiting for refund.

Edo state government was still compiling the list of federal roads and amount spent on them at time of this report, while officials of Bayelsa state government were not willing to speak on figures.

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Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Governor Ayade of Cross River State, Mr Christian Ita, confirmed to our reporters that “the debt is in the region of about N25 billion and we have done a lot of intervention on federal roads.”

In addition, a senior official in the Cross River State Ministry of Works confided in Saturday Vanguard, that “We have spent the sum of N25 billion to carry out rehabilitation work on the federal roads, but the federal government has only reimbursed the state the sum of N250 million.”

He said the Calabar –Ugep- Ikom and the Calabar –Uyo highways were in very appalling state, making driving on them near impossible, which prompted the state to intervene.

“We have carried out palliatives on federal roads in the state to the tune of 25 billion naira and 19 billion was recommended by the Federal Controller for Works in the state out of which the sum of 250 million naira only was reimbursed us. This is the only reimbursement Cross River State has enjoyed compared to other neighbouring states,” the official explained.

The federal government is indebted to oil- rich Akwa Ibom state to the tune of N142 billion reportedly expended by the government on constructing and rehabilitating federal roads in its domain.

A reliable source, however, revealed that the federal government had approved the sum of N74 billion as first trance payment, but it was not yet clear whether the money has reached the coffers of the state government.

Commissioner for Works, Akparawa Ephraim Inyangeyen, bemoaned recently that the money was ‘’hanging somewhere” and that “the state government would have used the money to finance some key projects as well as fix erosion and flood challenges confronting some communities in the state.”

Rivers state government kept mum on the federal debts to the states on road repairs, but a source said the state was being owed about N100 billion.

Mr Paulinus Nsirim, Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Information and Simeon Nwakaodu, Media Aide, did not respond to inquiry on debt at the time of this report, but the Convener, Rivers Unity Foundation, RUF, Kingsley Wali, said federal government was owing the state over N100 billion.

A Bayelsa state government official, who spoke to Saturday Vanguard , said, “I cannot get the details of the federal projects being handled by the state government, but what I can tell you is that the state government has had discussion with the appropriate authorities.”

“The Yenagoa-Oporoma leading to Southern Ijaw local government area and the Sagbama-Ekeremor road designed to open up the central and western flank of the state and the several riverine and coastal communities should have been federal projects, which the state government is currently handling at huge cost.

“The Yenagoa-Oporoma road has gone beyond Igebiri and the state government has promised to award contract for the commencement of the bridge at Aguobiri soon. The state is also handling the dualization of the Isaac Boro expressway, another federal road, as well as the Ebeni Bridge and others”.

Commissioner for Infrastructure, Edo state, Mr. John Inegbedion could not be reached, but a senior civil servant told Saturday Vanguard, “The ministry is compiling the federal government roads that have been constructed by the state and then we will liaise with the Ministry of Finance to get what the state has spent on federal government roads.”

The state government is currently funding 60 percent of the ongoing reconstruction of Benin- Abraka federal road and might soon intervene in parts of Benin –Lagos road, around Ugbowo where the road is failing.

Meanwhile, Governor Obaseki has said there were plans for the state government to take over the reconstruction of the Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi highway to put an end to years of the deplorable state of the road.

The governor, however, noted that the remedial work done on the road was not good enough, adding, “The state government wants a total rebuild of the road.”

“We are exploring the possibility of requesting the Federal Government to give us the entire stretch of the road (from Benin to Auchi) so we can raise funding to complete the work on the road. The road is a main artery in the state as it connects the three Senatorial Districts of the state; if we do not fix that road, it will have serious consequences on the economy of the state,” he said.

Delta State Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, said repairs on federal roads were taking a toll on the finances of the state, but did not disclose amount owed the state.

“We are continuing with road rehabilitation, you recall that we started with a particular portion of the road in Ogwogo-Okpe and a number of portions that were not too good that we are fixing at the moment, but the challenge is that, it is not the only federal road we are intervening.”

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We are also intervening on the federal road linking Agbor to Eku, and intervening along the Benin/Asaba/Onitsha dual carriage road, particularly in two sections on that road before the Bridgehead at the Asaba end and then Ubulukiti. At the moment, we have to close one side of the road to traffic because we are doing a lot of soil replacement and this is taking a toll on our finances and we hope that at the end of the day, the federal government will see reasons why it has to reimburse us.

FG owes Plateau N4bn

In Plateau State, the administration of former Governor Jonah Jang constructed many roads which led to the federal government owing the State the sum of N24bn. However, efforts by Saturday Vanguard to clarify the situation with relevant government officials proved abortive as none was willing to speak.

It was however gathered that the Federal Government in the first tenure of Governor Simon Lalong paid the sum of N20 billion out of N24bilion spent on roads projects intervention and the State is still being owed the sum of N4bn.

FG indebted to Adamawa to the tune of N4.6b

The Federal government is indebted to Adamawa state to the tune of N 4. 6bn for projects executed awaiting refund. Director General, Media and Communication to Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, Chief Solon Kumanga told Vanguard in Yola that three projects were executed during the regime of former Governor Murtala Nyako between 2007 and 2014.

He named the projects to include the 12 kilometers inter city link road from PZ Roundabout Maidoki to the Federal Government Girls College, FGGC gate along the Numan road; two collapsed bridges in Fufore local government and the Jambutu/MUBI bye pass road.

The state government, according to the governor’s spokesman passionately appealed to the Federal Government for refund of the money expended to enable the state execute more projects.

Anambra claims N12bn

On its part, Anambra submitted a claim of N43 billion. Senate committee however reduced it to N37 billion. Recently, the Federal Government paid N25 billion not in cash but

Promissory Note, leaving a balance of about N12 billion.

Taraba owed N40bn

Taraba State government has said it spent over N40 billion on Federal roads across the state and was yet to be paid by the Federal Government.

Senior Special Assistant to Governor Ishaku on Media and Publicity, Bala Dan Abu who disclosed this to Saturday Vanguard said, “over N40 billion of the state fund used by the state government for the rehabilitation of Federal roads in the state on behalf of the Federal government is yet to be refunded. “

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