By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THE Federal Executive Council, FEC, yesterday barred states from repairing federal roads in their domain. It also approved the sum of N148,141,987,161.25 to be refunded to five state governments, being money expended on repair of federal roads. which they spent to repair federal roads.
The states include Cross River N18,394,737,608.85; Ondo N7,822,147,577.08; Osun N2,468,938,876.78; Bayelsa N38,040,564, 783.40; and Rivers N78,953,067,518.29.
The memo for the refund was presented by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, at the third virtual council meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that council put a stop to refunding state governments who might go ahead with such projects without the approval of the Federal Government.
Mohammed, who briefed on behalf of the Works and Housing Minister said: “You will recall that in 2016, 36 states of the federation sent a very huge bill to the Federal Government, asking for compensation for money that they have expended on federal roads.
“This prompted Mr. President to set up a committee to go and verify the claims of these 36 states, whether, indeed, these projects were actually constructed or completed, in line with federal standards.
“At the end of that exercise by an inter-ministerial committee, chaired by the Minister of Works and Housing which also had Ministers of Education, Transportation, Finance, Minister of State for Works, D-G BPP and Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office, as members.
“At the end of that exercise, the committee recommended that the Federal Government should refund N550,364,297.31 billion to 31 of the 36 states, after they were convinced that, yes indeed, the projects were completed and they were federal government roads.
“But the claims of five other states, including Cross River, Rivers, Ondo, Bayelsa and Osun, failed on the grounds of improper documentation and they committee felt they needed proper documentation.
“So the committee went back with new terms of reference to ensure that the claims of the five states were in order, that is why the BPP is on the committee.
“So at the end of the exercise, the committee now reported that the five states – Cross River with 20 roads and one bridge will get a refund of N18,394,737,608.85; Ondo with six roads to get a refund of N7,822,147,577.08, and Osun with two roads and one bridge to get a refund of N2,468,938,876.78.
“Others are Bayelsa with five roads and one bridge, N38,040,564,783.40 and Rivers with three roads and three flyover bridges, N78,953,067,518.29.”
He said the committees confirmed that the roads and the bridges were not only duly completed but were also in good form, adding that some of the bridges and roads were built about 10 years ago.
He further said: “However, there is a caveat, the Federal Government will pay the states but, henceforth, if any state takes on federal road, it will not be paid, they will not get any refund.”