FG owes Ondo N11b on roads rehabilitation

ABOUT N11 billion is being owed Ondo State by the Federal Government as money spent by the state in rehabilitation and reconstruction of some federal roads within the state, Commissioner for Works, Gboye Adegbenro revealed yesterday.

   The commissioner, who said the money accumulated to that sum over the years beginning from the administration of late Dr. Olusegun Agagu, urged Abuja to expedite action on the payment of the money because “the current economic meltdown is already affecting the execution of capital projects in our state and we need to access all our funds.”

   He listed some of the roads to include the Ore-Okitipupa road in the southern senatorial district, Oweo-Ikare and Ajowa-Kogi State boundary in the northern senatorial district as well as the Oka-Isua road that connects the state with the Federal Capital Territory.

   The state is also expecting refund on money spent on the Itanla-Ondo road and the rehabilitation of the Ore junction at the Benin-Shagamu expressway which fixed the giant potholes that made the road impassable some three years ago.

   Also included in the road projects which expectations of refund were being included on yearly basis in the state budgetary proposals are the separate rehabilitations of the Igbara-Oke and Ogbese sections of the Ilesa-Owo highway which the state government undertook at the inception of the Dr. Olusegun Mimiko administration to ease traffic gridlock on the busy road.

   According to Adegbenro, a fellow of the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) who handles all the infrastructural projects of the Ondo government, the non-refund of the money, apart from delaying some capital projects in the state, is also hampering further intervention by the state on bad sections of federal roads.

   Reacting to a question of whether the state might be considering putting toll-gates on some of the roads in order to get the money back, Adegbenro said “we cannot do that because it is against government policy and for us in this state; it is not even right as it would go against our public posture. We will not do that.”

   The commissioner disclosed that plans and designs of 90 per cent of all the roads in the state have been done and these include constructions of flyovers at traffic flashpoints particularly in Akure, the state capital but that the projects were being hampered by inadequate funds.

   Adegbenro who stressed that “it is our duty as government to provide infrastructure for the people of Ondo State” disclosed further that the Mimiko administration has impacted positively on the state having increased the number of dual carriage way in the state from only one to five within a spate of six years.

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