By Ismaila Chafe
Motorists plying the East-West road in the Niger Delta have every reason to smile as the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved a four-man ministerial committee saddled with the responsibility of ensuring speedy completion of the highway.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi and that of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola made the disclosure when they briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council’s meeting which was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that N142.5billion was approved for the construction of roads across the country.
Amaechi, who spoke on the appointment of the four-man ministerial committee to be chaired by him, said members of the committee would undertake an inspection tour of the East-West road with a view to ensuring its completion.
He said members of the committee included Ministers of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Niger Delta, Usani Uguru Usani and that of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola.
The minister disclosed that the council also approved N1.67billion for the procurement of equipment for the Lagos – Kano narrow gauge, in line with an initial interim agreement signed between the federal government and the GE (General Electrical).
The council also approved N1.2 billion for the purchase of 18 flat-bed wagons to be operated on the narrow gauge rail line by the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola said the council approved a total of N99.01billion for the repair and maintenance works on the 3rd Mainland Bridge in Lagos and construction of various roads across the country.
He said N18.874 billion of the amount would be expended on the maintenance of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos as part of the federal government’s National Bridge Maintenance Strategy.
Fashola said the third mainland bridge contract was awarded to one of the original contractors for the project, Messrs Borini Prono of Italy.
He said the construction company was expected to carry out maintenance works on 33 out of the 177 piles of the bridge which were in critical condition.
According to him, part of the repair works on the bridge will also involve the maintenance of General Expansion Joint Replacement and will be completed within 27 months.
The minister said the budget for the repair on the bridge was captured in the 2017 appropriation law.
He said council also approved N80.19billion as revised amount for the second section of the 84 kilometers Lagos-Ibadan expressway project.
“”The federal government has initially approved N96.304billion for the Lagos-Ibadan road project. With approval by FEC, the project has been revised to N176.50 billion.
“FEC also approved the N38.034billion for the construction of the 9th mile-Orikam road in Enugu state which is 72kilometers.
“About N10billion is to be drawn from the Ecological Fund to fund the project.’’
Fashola said council also approved N2.54 billion for the redesign and construction of the Illie bridge in Osun state.
The Minister of State for Environment, Alhaji Ibrahim Jibrin, told the correspondents that he gave a progress report on the ministry’s activities from 2015 to date.
According to him, the ministry only got one approval on Ogoni Clean-up consultancy services in December 2017.
The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu disclosed that the council approved N2.9 billion to effect repairs at the completed Gurara Dam and hydro-power plant.
He stated another N6.1billion and 25.3 million Euros was approved for the final settlement of the contractor of the project.
He said that with this approval, the contractor would hand over the project to government while the hydro-power plant would also be given out for concession to interested party for effective management.