How Saraki undermined the completion of Lagos-Ibadan road, cuts N30bn

Nigeria's Senate President Bukola Saraki has admitted to pruning the budget for Lagos-Ibadan road
Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki has admitted to pruning the budget for Lagos-Ibadan road

Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki has somewhat admitted to undermining the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan road, stating that, it could not be completed in 2019.

Saraki also admitted to pruning N30 billion from the budget for the road that has been a bottleneck for motorists and travellers.

Saraki, a Peoples Democratic Party presidential aspirant made the confession in a meeting on 14 September, citing that the federal government did not allow the involvement of the private sector.

“This people are deceiving you, you cannot do Lagos-Ibadan road funded by government,” Saraki told to a group of people on Saturday.

“It requires stable security funds, not one that the contractor doesn’t know if it will come out today.

“And that is why if you go back to the newspapers, at the beginning of this government, Fashola (Minister of Works, Power and Housing) everybody in government said by 2019, Lagos-Ibadan will be completed, it can’t be.

“And even if government could do it, government should not be doing it,” he said.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) immediately called on Saraki to explain what he meant. 

“Nigerians would like @bukolasaraki to explain why @NGRSenate cut N30bn budget meant to repair roads that would reduce accidents and save lives,” SERAP tweeted.

READ: Buhari declares flood a national disaster

Adding that, “We strongly believe public interest is best served if you provide leadership to cut N13.5 monthly allowance receives by each senator.”

Chronicle NG reports that since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, the contract for the Lagos-Ibadan road has been awarded numerous times to different contractors.

The contract was awarded to Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited in 2009 under the Build Operate and Transfer agreement authorized Bi-Courtney to construct the more than 135 kilometre road and run it for 25 years, at the cost of N86.5 billion.

The agreement entitled the company to revenue recoup rights, stretching from charging food vendors on the road to vehicular tolling.

But once the agreement with Bi-Courtney (private sector) failed, the construction of the highway was transferred to Julius Berger and RCC.

While Julius Berger would handle section 1: from Lagos to Sagamu interchange, RCC Nigeria Limited will be responsible for section II: from Sagamu to Ibadan.

Chronicle NG can report that there has been massive progress on the construction since government ended the private sector agreement but Senator Saraki did not quite agree.

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