The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola has undertaken a tour of existing projects, assuring Nigerians of their completion in due course.
Fashola appealed to communities and states to take ownership of such federal projects in their areas to prevent disputes or acts of sabotage that could be detrimental to the delivery of such projects.
Mr Fashola made the appeal at the various stops in the course of a nationwide inspection, verification and fact finding tour of projects under his Ministry.
The tour has seen the Minister visit Kogi, Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau States in the North Central zone by road in a week to see firsthand the state of work at several important Power, Roads, Housing and other infrastructure facilities under his Ministry.
On one of the visits along with his Minister of State, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, to the then Governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada, Fashola explained that the tour was informed by the need to see things for themselves after being briefed in the office for effective planning of their budget .
“This is the 80th day since our appointments as Ministers. We have spent the time before now planning a budget , taking briefings , getting to know our staff, getting to know ourselves and this phase of the work now is to go and see for ourselves some of the things we’ve read in files across the States , some of the things we have been told in the meetings and to see things as they stand in preparation for implementation ,” Fashola said.
Mr Fashola emphasized that the development of the people should transcend party affiliations adding that affiliations mean nothing without attention paid to the development and prosperity of the people.
“Realization of this fact, informed my decisions since assumption of office to first ask our Controllers of Works in various states work in partnership with State Governments irrespective of party differences or colour of flag flown by that Government, “ the Minister said’’.
Enumerating some of the projects already inspected in Kogi state, Mr Fashola said the Ministry remained committed to the completion of the Abuja – Abaji- Lokoja road to achieve the connectivity of the two cities to facilitate the efficient movement of goods and services.
Critical power projects
According to Fashola, ‘’I have written to all Governors about providing us with land for housing and also providing us with their advisers, commissioners and or assistants as the case maybe on Energy’’.
We will need commissioners and assistants to be our front men in the states who will take decisions and be accountable to the State Governors, because we are seeing that quite a number of critical power projects are held up by community issues such as disputes, environmental, cultural and social issues which are best dealt with by the people who are masters of the terrain and usually the Governors are closer to the local people.”
According to the Minister, the Federal Government through the Ministry wants to resolve as many of such issues to ensure that important life impacting projects are delivered on time for the benefit of the people.
“We have just resolved some issues in one of the states where the power project has been held by communal and legal issues that was delaying about 700MW of power from being put to completion,’’ the Minister said
Decrying such negative attitude as people going to damage or sabotage infrastructural facilities located in their communities, the Minister appealed for more community and state ownership of projects in order to check those practices.
He stated that President Muhammad Buhari has constituted a Committee comprising of some Ministers including Power, Works and Housing, Transportation and Education to review and verify claims made by states with respect to work done on Federal roads in order to enable the Federal Government put a plan in place for refunds.
During each of the stops to inspect projects and the subsequent brief visits to the Governors Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau State Governors used the opportunity to address key issues affecting Federal Government projects in the states.
Each of the Governors expressed their delight for the Minister’s personal visit to see things for himself thereby using the opportunity to request areas requiring attention and respond to the Minister’s earlier communications and steps aimed at resolving community related issues affecting Federal projects.