The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Thursday explained why there have been delays in the completion of some ongoing road projects. This is just as the Senator representing Oyo North Senatorial District, Dr. Abdulfatai Buhari, raised the alarm that the old Oyo-Ogbomoso expressway has completely broken down.
Fashola and Buhari were among the public officers who spoke at the special Federal Government Town Hall Meeting held in Ibadan. The meeting was co-hosted by the Oyo State Government.
“I can tell you that for three days now, no vehicle can pass through the old Oyo-Ogbomoso expressway,” Buhari said, urging the Federal Government delegation to urgently find ways of mobilising the contractor handling the new road construction to complete it without further delay.
Explaining why there has been delays in ongong infrastructural projects including roads like the Oyo-Ogbomoso road, Fashola listed budget delay, budget cuts, huge compensation request by land owners as some of the factors.
The minister recalled that the National Assembly cut his ministry’s N30 billion proposal for the Lagos-Ibadan expressway in the 2017 budget to N11 billion, thereby hindering the speed of work on the road.
He also explained that said huge compensation sought by owners of land upon which government builds infrastructures increases the amount needed for the project which the government does not have the ability to provide immediately because of other pressing needs.
Senator Buhari however worried that the delay in the completion of the Oyo-Ogbomoso road which according to him had reached 50 per cent was causing a lot of hardship for road users and residents in the area. He said it was unfortunate that the road construction which started in 1999 is yet to be completed.
His words: “The new Oyo-Ogbomoso expressway is half-completed. No vehicle can pass through the old Oyo-Ogbomoso road since three days now and new road has not been completed. I use this opportunity to appeal to the Federal Government delegation to complete the new Oyo-Ogbomoso expressway on time.
“Secondly, the Iseyin-Oyo road, please, help us with the road. It is the gateway to other towns and villages in the area.
Fashola however stressed that huge compensation demands was part of the factors slowing down completion of new Oyo-Ogbomoso road. He, therefore, charged Nigerians to rein in on land owners to cut down on their request when projects are to be undertaken for the benefit of their communities and Nigeria at large.
The minister also urged Nigerians to prevail on National Assembly members over unreasonable cutting of budgetary allocations for important infrastructural projects.
Speaking on the partial funding solution the government had developed, Fashola said: “What President Buhari has done is to create the Infrastructures Fund. As they slow him down, he is developing alternatives. Already he has approved N15 billion for Lagos-Ibadan Road, funds for Abuja-Kano Road, second Niger Bridge and they can’t stop that. Tell the parliamentarians to do their own part as the executives do theirs.”
Also present at the town hall meeting were Ministers of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleman Adamu and Minister of Information and Culture; Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
Others are Governor Abiola Ajimobi of the state, All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the state, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu; the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji who was represented by Chief Lekan Alabi; traditional rulers, representatives of ethnic groups, civil servants; top government functionaries; APC chieftains; labour union leaders; artisans; students and professionals, among others.