The federal government has decided it will no longer refund money spent by state governments on the construction of federal roads.
The Niger State Commissioner for Works and Housing, Alhaji Ibrahim Balarabe yesterday disclosed this while briefing journalists at the end of the state executive council meeting held at the council chambers of the Government House in Minna.
Balarabe, who was commenting on the state of work on the Minna-Suleja federal road dualisation project, did not, however, say why the federal government took the decision.
He said the state government was “uncomfortable” with the level of work on the road and that despite the federal government’s decision, the state would intervene by embarking on the construction of some federal roads in the state.
“We know the government will not refund any money spent but we have an obligation to do the right thing for our people, innocent lives are being lost daily on the road,” he said.
Balarabe did not give the cost of the intervention of the state in the segment but said: “we are still negotiating with the contractors even though work has already commenced.
The commissioner also said President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that the contractors handling the “upper section” of the road should immediately move to site and ensure the completion of the project before the rains set in.
“The president is very passionate about this project, he has personally taken interest in it, so we expect that the contractor will do the job at a faster rate now.”
Balarabe also said the government was committed to the dualisation of the Bida-Minna road, saying part of the N21.5billion Sukuk loan would be expended on the project.
Also at the press briefing, the State Commissioner for Transport, Alhaji Ibrahim Panti, said the government would absorb 500 traffic vanguards employed by the last administration into the main scheme civil service.
Panti said a committee to carry out the exercise had been set up.