The Nigerian federal government has disclosed that the south south and south east geopolitical zones have the worst roads in the country, The Sun reports. The disclosure was made by the minister of works, power and hosuing, Babatunde Fashola, as he appeared before the Magnus Abe-led Senate Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA).
However, the minister said efforts were underway to get the roads fixed before the festive season kicks off in December. He stated: “When we did the audit of our roads, we discovered some sections are bad. Many roads have outlived their lifespans. “Many roads in the South-east and South-south were built before the Civil War. They are among the worst in the country. They need to be replaced.
“Funds generated from Sukuk have not been released because of the conditions tied to it. We will try and repair the roads before people start traveling for the festivities in December. We are doing something about that.” Speaking at the hearing, Senator Abe lamented that when deliberating about how projects would be cited, lawmakers were usually pushed aside by heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s), and their inputs shunned.
He however stated that they were committed to resolving FERMA’s core challenges. In his words: “As elected representatives of the people, if the federal government is doing anything in your areas, our inputs are hardly needed. We will then have to fight for relevance.
“We are meeting you because of the challenges FERMA which is under your supervision is facing. Is this agency relevant in your scheme of things in your Ministry? We need you to touch on the core challenges of this agency.” Fashola responded about FERMA’s challenges:
“One of the reoccurring stories of underperformance which we inherited is that of ministerial interference. We have tried to supervise without interfering. As best as possible, we try not to. “I have tried to enable government see what it is spending in each of the parastatals under my Ministry. In the past, FERMA spent money on areas it had no business with. That has to stop.
If you allocate money and it is spent on local government roads, it means something is wrong. The core mandate of FERMA is to repair federal roads. “FERMA can be the largest construction company in the country. It depends on what we are willing to put into the agency. In the past, FERMA collected monies for roads they did not construct. That has to stop in this government.
“We are working with the Army Corps to see how we can develop local content. FERMA can be the biggest construction firm. The unemployment challenges we have can be reduced if FERMA is busy is every state.”