Airport Road Repairs: You lied, Fashola tells Ambode
Posted by News Express | 10 March 2017 | 2,588 times
•Works, Housing and Power Minister Babatunde Fashola.
The immediate past Governor of Lagos State and current Federal Minister of Works, Housing and Power, Babatunde Fashola, has accused the man who succeeded him as governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, of lying over his claim that the Ministry of Works and Housing was frustrating the Lagos State Government’s efforts to reconstruct the road leading to the international airport in Lagos.
The road, which is an eyesore, belongs to the Federal Government. But the Lagos State Government says it can’t continue to wait for the federal government to fix it and has decided to fix it on its own. However it needs the approval of federal authorities to do so, which is where is Fashola comes in.
Governor Ambode Wednesday called a press conference, where he lamented seriously that the federal ministry of works is frustrating his effort to fix the road by delaying in giving the necessary approval handing over the road to the Lagos state government.
But in his response in a statement through his media aide, Hakeem Bello, Fashola insists that the Governor was misleading the public by failing to acknowledge other approvals his ministry had granted the state in the past.
“In 2016, the Hon Minister for Power Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, approved the use of the Federal Ministry of works yard at Oworonsoki for Lagos State Government to create a lay-by to ease traffic.
“The Hon Minister also approved that Lagos State be granted the Rights to manage the Street Lighting on the 3rd Mainland Bridge to support the security initiatives of the State, a request which the previous Federal Government administration had denied Lagos State for years.
“During the same year the Hon Minister also supported the approval of the World Bank Loan of $200m to Lagos State, again a request the previous administration had denied Lagos State,” part of the statement read.
The minister then went on to explain why the approval for the handover of the international airport road has not been granted the state yet.
“As far as International Airport Road which is currently the ground for alleged “frustration” is concerned, the correct position is that the Lagos State Government presented a request for FOUR roads that it would wish to take over.
“This is consistent with the position being canvassed by the Hon Ministers for State who are interested to apply to take over roads that are within their states.
“The Ministry has presented the Memorandum conveying the request of the Lagos State Government to the Federal Executive Council as was done with a similar request by the Kaduna State Government in 2016.
“Due to the fact that TWO of the roads also connect Ogun State, the Federal Executive Council could not reach an immediate decision on them because it requested the input of the other State Government affected.
“The Kaduna State Government requested the Federal Government to transfer two roads within Kaduna Metropolis to the State in November 2015. Due process was followed and the request of the State Government was approved in August 2016, a period of ten months.
“Federal Executive Council Memorandum are debated and commented upon by all members and in cases of roads, surveys, maps and other material have to be provided to assist members understand the location and connectivity of the roads, (in this case Four roads), in order to assist how they vote on the Memorandum.”
Governor Ambode had also accused Fashola’s ministry as well as other federal agencies of refusing to handover the presidential lodge in Lagos to the state after President Buhari had given approval for this. The Lagos state government wants to convert the lodge into a museum in time for its Lagos at 50 celebration later in the year. But Fashola insisted neither he nor his ministry was responsible for the delay.
“After the approval by Mr President that the Presidential Lodge be handed over to the State Government, there was a directive to the Ministry to work out the modalities for handing over. The Ministry has prepared a vesting instrument to convey the transfer and all that is needed is a survey plan. The Presidential Lodge is a high security location and officials of the Ministry also require security clearance to enter in order to do any works. Access to the lodge is not under the control of the Ministry.”
The Minister then went on to blame the Governor for any perceived lack of cooperation between his ministry and the Lagos state government. He also accused the Governor of refusing to approve the request of his ministry to provide land in the state for the national housing project adding that the governor had only spoken to him on the phone just once since he left the office of governor of the state in May 2015.
As for the money the Lagos Governor says it is being owed by the federal government, the minister said the governor was only making a mountain out a molehill.
“As far as the refund of N51 billion is concerned this is not a new item. Almost all if not all states have these claims and the Federal Ministry of Power Works and Housing has verified these claims. What is left is the process of raising the finance to pay the Debt owed to the States. Those who are familiar with the workings of Government will attest to the fact that it is an intricate sequence of processes, consultation and collaboration.
Equating processes to a lack of co-operation is therefore akin to creating a storm in a tea cup.” (TV360 Nigeria)