Akwa Ibom Has Demonstrated the Right Collaborative Attitude - Works Minister
24 Oct 2011: Dele Ogbodo
Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, has faulted claims by some state governors with regards to the refund of money, which runs into several billions of Naira, being expended in fixing federal roads in their states.
Briefing newsmen over the weekend in Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State, after touring the various roads rehabilitated by the state, Onolememen said the Federal Government had found out that not all the claims by some state governors regarding money spent in rehabilitating federal roads were genuine.
The minister, who was highly impressed with the level of rehabilitated federal roads in the state, told newsmen: "On refund, we are going to be requiring some documentation from the state government, we will do the letter to you, after we receive your formal notification and request for refund.
"We just want to make sure that it is in tandem with the guideline and requirement. We will send the list to you and when we have that we will start processing them."
He added: "But at least we are satisfied with the quality of work that you have done on federal roads.
"I think your state will become a reference point for other state governments because we are very happy for what you have done on some of the federal roads here. You have fully transformed them and we want to thank you and want to say that we would not shy away from assuming our responsibility on the road.
"At least, this is a healthy collaboration between your state government and the Federal Government in delivering first class infrastructure for the benefit of the people of the state primarily and Nigerians in general."
Onolememen said unlike what was found in some states with bad spots on federal roads, and the state government putting up signboards announcing: "This is federal road; please bear with us," Akwa Ibom State had demonstrated the right and collaborative attitude that could bring about meaningful development for the benefit of all Nigerians.
He said: "We are pleased with what is happening in Akwa Ibom State. This is just collaboration between the state and federal but don't forget that most of these so-called federal roads were actually inherited from the states and we have also found out that not all the claims by most state governments are genuine."
On the ownership of federal roads, Onolememen said most of the roads for which most of the state governments claimed refund were not truly federal roads because most of them were not gazetted as federal roads. He disclosed that the ministry was planning the reclassification of most of the federal roads.
He said: "We are going to come out after the retreat and we are going to let Nigerians know the truly federal roads across the country. And those ones that are appropriately documented and gazetted, any state government intervention made on them that meets the criteria and guidelines established by the Federal Government for such intervention will surely be paid for. "My advice to other state governors is that they should take a cue from what is happening in Akwa Ibom state".