The Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says that the best form of transportation is the inter-modern transportation where the sea, rail and road are effectively maximized.
Ameachi who was a guest on Channels TV’s Newsnight on Monday, explained that when all the forms of transportation begin to operate effectively, it could lead to accelerated economic growth and stability.
Speaking about the current projects, the minister noted that the “Abuja-Kano road is under construction and clearly coming to an end. The Port Harcourt – Enugu road is also under construction”.
“There are four major railway lines that we are building. There’s the Lagos-Kano which is about 8.7 billion dollars and its about 1,300 kilometers.
“There is Lagos-Calabar, which is about 1,400 kms and there is the PortHarcourt – Maiduguri which is about 2,000 kilometers. Then there are the central lines which come from Abuja, through Baru to Itakpe and then a seaport in Warri,” he added.
The minister, however, explained that the nation currently has no functioning seaports.
“The one from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri has a seaport in Bonny but the truth is, in Nigeria we don’t have seaports, we have riverports,” he stated.
But according to him, “the first seaport would be the Lekki one where construction has commenced, the second seaport would be the Warri one that we just awarded, and then the last seaport would be the Bonny one which we hope to award before we leave government”.
Speaking further, he explained how the railways, when completed, could help in moving the economy forward.
“Railways are not built for passengers, they are built for cargos. They grow the economy.
“Imagine the total number of goods that are stored up.. we‘ve yanked off the narrow gauge between Lagos and Iju to enable us conclude the standard guage and lay a new narrow guage. Before, we used to move some goods.. between 200-300 tonnes through the narrow guage. But now, that has been stalled because we want to conclude the standard guage.
“What that would do, is to enable us clear the Apapa gridlock because we are taking the rail into the seaport. So, as soon as you come, you drop your cargo unto the rail. If nothing else, it takes you up to Ibadan.
“We are working towards commencing the Ibadan – Kano rail line. By the time we finish that, you’d be moving about 30 million tonnes of cargo. “So you’ll move the economy and it’s no longer stagnant in Lagos”.
When asked if Nigeria would be able to pay back its loans used for the funding of rail projects, the minister said “it depends on if the government is a very reckless government.
“But Nigeria is known to pay its debts,” he added.
“What we’ve done in the railway industry is to open an exco account because that’s what the Chinese want.
“So, any surplus you get from the Lagos-Ibadan project, we put into the exco account. So, with that, we can generate resources to start paying back.
“But generally, railways don’t fund themselves. The second thing is, generally, seaports can pay itself.
“When we got to the MPA, we were generating over N100 billion, now they are generating between N295 to N300 billion.
“So, I have no fear that we can’t pay back. Infact, the seaport is not even a loan. All our seaports are investments”.
The Federal Executive Council has approved the sum of N310 billion for road projects in several parts of the country.
Briefing journalists in Abuja, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said that N79.82bn is for the Ibadan-Ilesa-Ife road, while N200.1bn is earmarked for roads linking the second Niger Bridge to Asaba and Onitsha.
The remaining N29. 6bn according to him, is meant for phase 2 of the Kano-Katsina Highway.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Education (State), Emeka Nwajiuba, disclosed that the Council also approved contracts for his ministry under the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).
According to him, N915 million is for the construction of the Faculty of Environment at the University of Abuja, while N918 million has been budgeted for the construction of the Faculty of Education in the same university.
Residents of some communities in Asaba, the Delta State capital have asked the state government to adopt proactive measures in fixing dilapidated roads around the city.
Of particular concern is a major road just by the entrance to the capital city, leading to many other communities, which according to residents has been in a deplorable state for over six years.
Speaking to Channels Television, a resident of the area, Ebere Jaga, noted that the bad roads make people wonder as it’s located in the heart of the state.
“We want the government to help us. This is the heart of Asaba. You will imagine people passing and asking what is happening. Is that a road or what? People are surprised that this type of place is in the heart of Asaba,” he stated.
Another resident, Chikwe Matthew, feared that if the government does not address the issue urgently, it might be worse considering the rains that are coming.
He said, “This is the second time we have this rain and you can see how the road looks like. It means that in the next due season of serious rain, it’s going to be terrible.”
But reacting to the development, the state government blamed the situation on inadequate funding, noting it has been a major challenge.
According to the Director General of the State Capital Territory Development Agency, Clement Ofuani, the state government is determined to fixing the road despite being faced with the challenge of paucity of funds.
“We are aware of their challenging situation and we are working day and night to see how we can ameliorate the situation.
“But the truth we cannot run away from is that the primary problem is funding constraint,” he stated.
Chairman of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has applauded the Federal Government for signing an executive order which now enables private companies to build roads in the country.
Mr Aliko who was a guest lecturer at the National Defense College in Abuja on Monday noted that logistics issues resulting from poor road infrastructure are a major difficulty that companies in Nigeria are grappling with.
According to him, the newly signed executive order will make it possible for private companies to build roads in order to ease the transportation of goods and services from the production point to the market.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday signed the Executive Order 007 allowing private companies to build roads which the government says it will pay back through tax relief.
The President admitted that the initiative had become imperative because funding infrastructure had become a burden which the government alone could no longer bear.
Read the President’s full statement below.
His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria
At the Presidential Signing Ceremony Of The
Executive Order #007 Of 2019 on the Road Infrastructure Development & Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme,
In The Council Chambers, State House, Abuja, Friday, 25rd January 2019
1. It is my pleasure to welcome you to witness this Ceremony of signing into law of the Executive Order #7 of 2019 on the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme.
2. This is another opportunity to demonstrate the commitment of this Administration to conceive, design, develop and deliver Public Private Partnerships with notable investors so as to close the road infrastructure gap in the transportation sector.
3. Since I oversaw the successful implementation of the Petroleum Trust Fund roads development programme in the 1990s, various models have been adopted in addressing this infrastructure gap. In recent years, our reliance on annual budgetary allocations to fund roads development has been disappointing, given that our budget proposals have not always been passed in an expeditious manner by the National Assembly.
4. There have also been revenue shortfalls that have hampered our efforts to fully fund critical projects. Furthermore, at the inception of this Administration, we met a significant backlog of local contractors’ debts, which we, as a responsible Administration, have undertaken to clear.
5. We did so with a view to improving the confidence of construction firms in the Federal Government, and to confirm our ability to honour financial commitments for infrastructure projects, as and when due.
6. Despite these challenges, this Administration remains committed to keeping our promises to deliver qualitative roads and transportation infrastructure to our citizens, communities and businesses. In this regard, we have consistently adopted innovative solutions to complement the annual budgetary spending on infrastructure.
7. You may recall that on 25th February 2018, I approved the establishment of a Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund, through which the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority is investing in critical Roads and Power Projects nationwide such as the 2nd Niger Bridge, Lagos to Ibadan Expressway, East-West Road, Abuja – Kano Road, and the Mambila Hydroelectric Power Project.
8. To date, N71 billion (Seventy-One Billion Naira) of funding of this N2.5 trillion (Two-point-Five Trillion Naira) initiative, has come from the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Dividend Account, the Federal Budget, as well as counterpart funds from China Exim, China Development Banks, and other development partners.
9. The N100bn (One Hundred Billion Naira) raised by the Debt Management Office through the Sukuk issuance in September 2017 has been fully deployed by the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing for 25 critical economic road projects located across each of the six Geo-political Zones.
10. Furthermore, in December 2018 we raised an additional N100bn (One Hundred Billion Naira) for funding of another set of 28 road projects also spread across the six Geo-Political Zones. Through these innovative funding mechanisms, we have been able to address the challenges of project funding, cost variation and completion risks that have plagued the development of the nation’s critical roads infrastructure assets.
11. Today’s event marks another milestone in changing the narrative that has dogged past efforts at developing critical roads infrastructure nationwide. Pursuant to the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme, 19 Eligible Road Projects are to be undertaken by 6 leading manufacturing and construction firms, located in 11 States, and in each of the six Geo-political Zones.
12. Through this Scheme, companies that are willing and able to spend their own funds on constructing roads to their factories or farms, will recover their construction costs by paying reduced taxes, over a period of time. We shall ensure complete transparency in these set-offs.
13. I call on other local and international investors, as well as the State Governments, to embrace this roads infrastructure development Scheme. I personally invite you to submit viable proposals for more road projects, such that, in time, the scope of this initiative will cover all 36 States of the Federation.
14. I note the prudent fiscal risk management measures which the Minister of Finance has adopted to protect the integrity of this programme. The Minister has submitted to me, a Fiscal Implications Report that indicates how the programme’s tax credits are to be administered in a manner that does not impair our revenue projections.
15. The Minister has also laid out a set of revenue enhancement and other fiscal measures, which are targeted to increase revenues over the medium-term horizon pursuant to the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiatives programme, which she launched here in Abuja, on Wednesday, 23rd January 2019.
16. I have charged the Minister of Finance to ensure that the Management Committee, which is saddled with the responsibility of implementing this roads infrastructure development Scheme, is promptly inaugurated, so as to enable the swift and smooth take-off of this landmark initiative.
17. I trust that the members of the Management Committee, under the leadership of the Minister of Finance, as well as the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, will discharge their duties in a diligent, responsible and patriotic way.
18. In closing, I wish to express my gratitude to the participating Investors for their commitment to working with this Administration to develop and deliver critical roads infrastructure, in key economic hubs and industrial centers. I also thank the 11 State Governors, and their States, for their willingness to participate in the Pilot Phase of this programme.
19. I also thank Nigerians for the confidence reposed in this Administration’s strategy, under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, to ensure sustainable, inclusive and diversified growth, as well as to guarantee the socio-economic development of the nation.
20. We trust that as we shortly go to the polls, the Nigerian people will revalidate our mandate to continue to deliver on economic prosperity, national security and good governance, devoid of the bane of corruption.
21. I thank you most sincerely for your attention.
The Federal Government has commenced the rehabilitation of roads to ease the flow of traffic in the eastern part of the country.
The repair work is carried out by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
According to the Federal Road Maintenance Engineer in Imo State, Mr Chukwuemeka Maduagwu, the programme is in line with the government’s directive to rehabilitate 57 critically failed inter-state highways across the country.
“At the end of this operation, we have achieved one thing – preventive maintenance and enhancing the performance of these pavements that we will continue to say that one of our scopes is to distill drainages and open of waterways.
“We will continue to encourage the public to help us preserve critical government infrastructure by not engaging in acts that will hinder the longevity of these carriageways.”
Maduagwu believes that residents of the area and indeed motorists will cooperate in the Operation Safe Passage along the Owerri-Onitsha expressway in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
Meanwhile, motorists have commended the Federal Government’s intervention, especially since the rehabilitation work is being carried out at night to avoid obstruction of movement.
Governors of the South-East have called on the Federal Government to urgently fix the Federal roads and the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu state.
Speaking during a meeting with the members of the National Assembly from the region at the Enugu Government House, Chairman of the forum, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi said the federal Government also need to urgently consider the state of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport.
“The meeting called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to repair the roads especially using this opportunity of the dry season. Equally of importance is the ignorable state of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, especially the runaway, terminal buildings and cargo shelter. We require that urgent steps be taken to address the problems at the airport.”
Umahi after the meeting called on the people in Anambra to come out and perform their civic obligations on November 18 election in the state.
“The meeting expresses satisfaction and the willingness and readiness of the Anambra people to come out en masse and participate on the November 18th, 2017 governorship election and we, therefore, urge INEC to ensure that the election takes place as scheduled, no shifting of date of the election,” he said.
Meanwhile, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Garba Umar, has reiterated his command’s commitment is ensuring adequate security during the exercise.
The police boss on Channels Television programme, Sunrise, said plans have been made for deployment of security personnel totaling about 16,000 for the over 4,000 polling units.
“As you are aware, we conducted about 35 primaries for the 35 political parties that are contesting for the November 18 gubernatorial election in the state. “All the primaries were done successfully without any hitch, security was provided adequately, and we were able to sectorize all the major areas in the state.
“For the November 18 also, what we did was to look at possible areas first, what are the flashpoints, the black spots, second, where are the polling booths, we assess their position and situation and we look at our deployment, how many personnel do we need.”
The Federal Government has released the proceeds of the N100 billion Sukuk bond for the construction and rehabilitation of 25 major road projects in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, handed over the cheque for the N100 billion to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babtunde Fashola, at a ceremony in Abuja on Thursday.
“The proceeds will be used to support government capital spending for 2017 – the construction and rehabilitation of 25 key economic roads across the six geo-political zones of the country,” she said.
“The roads will ease commuting, spur economic activities across the country and further close our infrastructural gap.”
Mrs Adeosun promised to source more funds for the development of critical infrastructure in the country.
The Sukuk bond, which was issued by the Federal in September, had been oversubscribed according to the minister, a development she said was a sign of confidence in the Nigerian government.
The Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Mrs Patience Oniha, who was present as Mrs Adeosun handed over the cheque to Mr Fashola, praised the decision to issue the Sukuk bond, which was oversubscribed to the tune of N105 billion.
The Lagos State government on Sunday unveiled its roadmap targeted at maintaining and rehabilitating roads across the state as well as comprehensive drainage maintenance and flood control programme between august and December 2017.
The Special Adviser to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Public Works and Drainages, Temiday Erinle, reeled out the roadmap at a press briefing held at the Bagauda Kaltho press centre in Alausa.
Erinle said in the coming days, the state government, through the Public Works Corporation, would carry out rehabilitation works on 43 major link roads across the state, while other major highways and arterial roads found to be in a bad state would be fixed.
He added that the state government was well aware of the challenges being experienced by commuters on Lagos roads and that Governor Ambode had already repositioned the corporation to comprehensively address the issues relating to potholes and drainages in the state.
“As you are all aware, we are presently in the rainy season, as such much cannot be done during this period. However, we are currently carrying out palliative works on our major roads through the application of boulders, crushed stones and other construction materials to address the potholes problems in order not to paralyse the economic activities of the state.
“Similarly, we also take advantage of some dry days to carry out repair works in an effort to reduce traffic gridlock on Lekki-Epe Expressway between Adetokunbo Ademola Samuel, a section of Ikorodu road between the new and old pedestrian bridges inward-Maryland, Ikorodu road, Ketu bus stop and Ikuomola street, Idimu Alimosho Local Government Area.
“Asides that, I want to assure the people that immediately the rain subsides, the lagos state public works corporation will embark on massive road maintenance and repairs of all major highways and arterial roads found to be in bad state.”
Erinle noted that apart from the 43 major link roads to be repaired in coming days, engineers of the corporation have also been sent out to identify other failed spots across the state, assuring that the state government was determined to fix all potholes to bring about seamless driving experience to motorists.
He listed some of the roads to include: Alfred Rewane Road, Ikoyi on which work according to him, has already commenced; Sina Ogunbanwo Street, Agric road Oko-oba, Ifako Ijaiye; Club road off osborne road, Ikoyi; Oroke drive, Ikoyi, Eti-Osa LGA; Central Avenue, Apapa; north avenue, Apapa; Maybin road, Apapa; Lateef Jakande road, Ikeja; Gberibe road, Ikorodu; Tos Benson road, Ikorodu; Oke Sabo along Imota; Itamaga, Itoikin; Oba Sekumaderd, Ogolonto, Ikorodu; Adeniran Ogunsanya road Ikorodu; Admiralty way, Lekki Eti-osa; Topo Inward Ajido, Badagry; Hospital road, Badagry and Ijesha road network, Surulere among many others.
While reeling out the plans of the state government to control flooding, Erinle said work has already commenced in earnest to deflood the state, adding that in a bid to forestall flooding as witnessed few weeks back due to torrential rainfall which led to high intensity of about 465mm of water within five days, the state has been divided into five zones namely Alimosho, Ikeja, Mushin, Kosofe, Agege, Ifako-Ijaiye, Oshodi-Isolo and Somolu (zone 1); Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Amuwo Odofin, Ojo and Badagry (zone 2); Ikorodu (zone 3); Apapa, Surulere, Lagos Island, mainland and Eti-osa (zone 4); and Ibeju Lekki and Epe (zone 5).
Furthermore, Erinle said in all the five zones, dredging of primary channels and outfalls as well as clearing/cleaning of collector and tertiary (street) drains have been carried out and are still ongoing, while a drainage master plan which covers the entire state has been developed to improve on the earlier four master plans.
Under the new comprehensive master plan, Erinle explained that 169 primary channels/outfalls have been identified, while all the recommendations in the plan were being implemented in phases.
“I wish to reassure lagosians that the corporation will not rest on its oars to ensure that the people continue to enjoy pot-hole free roads and drastic reduction in the incidences of flooding in lagos state,” he stated.
The House of Representatives and the Nigerian Army have disagreed over the continued closure of roads in some liberated towns in the nation’s northeast.
The contention between the Theatre Commander of the counter-insurgency war tagged “Operation Lafiya Dole”, Major General Lucky Irabor and the House Defence Committee was voiced on Monday during a visit to the theatre command in Maiduguri, Borno State’s capital.
The seven-man committee led by Honourable Aliyu Isa said that their visit was part of a resolution of the House to investigate repeated complaints and petitions by members of the public in the region.
Mr Isa told General Irabor that while the National Assembly was in support of the military, there were concerns about operational modules and the failure to reopen closed roads, especially the Gwoza-Madagali road linking Borno and Adamawa states.
“We are here to investigate the continued closure of Madagali-Gwoza road, unlike other roads that the military has reopened.
“This is one of the major roads. The northeast has been closed down and a lot of people have been sending complains to the House, appealing to us to request the military to help reopen the roads for users,” Isa stated.
Critical, Realistic And Factual Motions
However, the Theatre Commander cautioned the lawmakers against making resolutions based on mere complaints and petitions.
He requested that they should visit the areas in question and obtain firsthand information, before championing the cause.
“Your investigation wouldn’t be complete without seeing the facts for yourselves. We have opened that road unofficially and life is already returning to Gwoza.
“And it’s not because people are complaining. We are not moved by complaints but rather the situation we find ourselves in,” Irabor stated.
The Army officer added that: “If there was a motion that was raised on the floor of the House, as lawmakers, one is at liberty to move such motions but I think what’s more critical is that motions should be moved from informed positions (and) not from perception or long distance assumptions.
“It must be critical, realistic and factual giving accurate positions as they are”.
General Irabor explained that the level of efforts that had gone into creating a secured environment for people to return to their homes at that part of the counter-terrorism operation informed partial opening of the road for humanitarian activities and returning displaced persons.
Some parts of Gwoza are reportedly home to the outlawed Boko Haram group and over the weekend, mourners were targeted for an attack in nearby Madagali Local Council of Adamawa State.
A community in Niger State has appealed to Governor Abubakar Bello to, as a matter of necessity, consider the full rehabilitation of its roads.
One of the residents of Railway community, Abubakar Adamu, expressed dismay over the long abandonment of the community due to alleged victimisation of an individual who was said to be in opposition political party in the area.
He said that the government should be able to have the heart to accommodate everybody, insisting that the present All Progressives Congress (APC) government was looking forward to giving its best in service delivery to the people of Niger State in northern Nigeria.
An elder of the community, Mr Ibrahim Suleiman, who lamented over the situation of the roads, however, expressed confidence in the present administration.
He described Governor Bello as “a man with listening ears and (that) cares for the needy” and urged him to come to the aid of the community he claimed had been abandoned for several years.
Suleiman, who is an APC member, expressed hope that with the initiation of construction of many roads, the Governor would surely rehabilitate the roads that connect to the community, especially the Nnamdi Azikiwe road that links with Pigry – Morris axis.
The Nnamdi Azikiwe road in Chanchaga Local Government Area is one of the first roads constructed that leads to Minna town, but had been allegedly abandoned by the past governments in the last 18 years.