By Ismaila Chafe
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved N115.5 billion for the construction of various road projects in Adamawa, Plateau and Taraba States.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, made this known when he briefed State House correspondents at the end of Wednesday’s virtual cabinet meeting held at the Council Chamber of the State House, Abuja.
He said: “The Ministry of Works presented two memoranda for consideration and award of three roads, all of which Council graciously approved.
“They are the award of the Jabbi-Lamba-Belel Road in Adamawa State for N26.829 billion.
“The Achingali-Udobi-Udona-Umuwana-Ubakala Road, including the bridge, across the Imo River in Imo State, for the sum of N11.540 billion.
“The Jarmai-Bashar-Zuruk-Karim Lamido Road, linking Plateau and Taraba States, in the sum of N77.279 billion.”
According to the minister, the projects are consistent with the ministerial responsibilities his ministry was mandated to execute under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, and the commitment to improving road transport infrastructure across Nigeria.
“For example, the road that links Plateau and Taraba States, when completed along with the Ibi Bridge, will reduce the journey time from Abuja to Jalingo in Taraba from about 12 hours to about eight hours.
“It will be a significant reduction in journey time and also the other roads will be equally beneficial in bringing down cost of goods, cost of transportation and cost of doing business,” he said.
The Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, who also spoke on the outcome of the meeting, disclosed that the Council approved revised estimated total cost for the completion of Zungeru-Wushishi Water Supply Project in Niger State from N1.9 billion to N6.9 billion.
According to him, this is part of the Buhari administration’s efforts to complete inherited projects with huge socio-economic impact on the lives of the people.
“Today, we presented to council, a request for approval of revised estimated total cost for the completion of Zungeru-Wushishi Water Supply Project in Niger State in the sum of N5.021 billion, raising the project from N1.93 billion to N6.955 billion, inclusive all taxes.”
He recalled that the project, which was started in 1998 by Niger State Government and could not be continued, was eventually transferred to the federal government.
He disclosed that efforts were made to revive the project in 2012, saying “that was when it was revised from N889 million to N1.9 billion.
“But after the work started and attained about 30 per cent completion, funding stopped.’’
The minister, however, stated that the water project was accorded medium priority in 2015.
“Of course, one of the reasons why the cost had to be revised was because the design as of 1998 was for one million gallons per day with water treatment system.
“Then, from 1998 to 2020 today, definitely, if you apply our growth rate, you will know that scheme as was then designed was no longer feasible for the two twin towns of Zungeru and Wushishi.
“Zungeru in particular is of varied interest to us because it’s one of the most historical cities in the country, being the first colonial capital of northern Nigeria and the birthplace of the first President-General, Dr Nnamdi Azikwe, and with all the infrastructure around it – Shiroro Dam, Jebba and River Niger.
“For such an historical town to be in the 21st century and cannot boast of adequate water supply, we think it’s not something we can wish away.
“So, we accorded it the priority that it deserves and we got approval of FEC to that effect,’’ he explained. (NAN)