From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
The Federal Government has clarified that the funding for the Abuja-Keffi road dualisation was secured through a China EXIM loan and the decision to borrow the funds for the project was taken before the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
‘The decision to borrow this money was taken before our administration. So, we just completed the process that has been started, a process that we own because this is money borrowed for investment to improve people’s lives,’ Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola said on Wednesday.
Fielding questions from reporters during his inspection tour of the ongoing dualisation of the 221 kilometres Keffi – Akwanga-Lafia – Makurdi Road, following agitations of the communities along the construction corridor, Fashola, declared that ‘agitations don’t solve problems; it is engagements and collaborations.’
The minister was responding to a question from a reporter on the efforts of the Federal Government to compensate those affected by the project along the road.
He said that the Federal Government was closely working with the Benue and Nasarawa states to resolve the issues.
The minister pointed out that the Federal Government was making a deliberate and careful effort to ensure that the real beneficiaries get the compensation and not middlemen.
Explaining further, he said that the 221 kilometres dualisation being undertaken includes a 10-lane expansion over five kilometres where Abuja joins Nasarawa State around the Mararaba area, disclosing that work is yet to begin on the areas that still have issues of resettlement, relocation and compensation until such issues are resolved.
The minister who was later joined by the Governor of Nasarawa State, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, also inspected the National Housing Programme (NHP) and Federal Secretariat Complex in the state capital, Lafia.
On the economic benefits of the projects, Fashola said the projects will drive the economy and create jobs for the people, as so many people have been employed directly or indirectly through the infrastructure developments.
‘If you see the economy beginning to head towards growth it’s clear that the president’s strategy on Infrastructure as a driver of growth is working,’ Fashola stated.
Earlier during a courtesy visit to Governor Abdullahi Sule, the minister appealed to the governor to establish a park for the trailers in order to protect the roads from being damaged, pointing out that the parking of trailers and the pouring of lubricants; diesel and oil on the roads by the drivers negatively affect the lifespan of the roads.
The governor in his response expressed gratitude to President Buhari and the minister for their commitment to the development of infrastructure in Nasarawa State.
Governor Sule also told the minister that the state was already establishing trailer parks across the state to protect the roads from being damaged through indiscriminate parking on the shoulders and to avoid the incidence of such areas becoming criminal hideouts.
He urged the Federal Government to consider working on more roads in the state.
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