Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday accused the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing under the supervision of his immediate predecessor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, of frustrating the plans of the state government to reconstruct the road linking Murtala Muhammed International Airport to Oshodi.
Ambode also accused the ministry of refusing to approve the handover of the Presidential Lodge, Marina to the state contrary to the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The governor made the allegations at the State House, Alausa after inspecting some strategic projects in different parts of the state alongside Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello among other members of the State Executive Council.
Disturbed by the development, the governor disclosed that the Presidential Lodge was central to the state’s fiftieth celebration, noting that the state government would soon roll programme for the anniversary.
He, therefore, lamented that the Presidential lodge, which would play a crucial role in the state’s fiftieth celebration, had not been handed over to the state government against the president’s directive.
He said the state government “has been being tossed about by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and the Department of State Services (DSS) even after Buhari has approved that the Presidential Lodge should be handed over to the state government.
“Buhari has actually approved handing over of the Presidential Lodge, Marina. As we speak, nothing has been done on Mr. President’s directive. We are being frustrated. The approval of Buhari should be honoured. We believe we should take possession so that we can take over.”
Likewise, Ambode lamented that the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing “is frustrating the state government’s plan to reconstruct the road that links Murtala Muhammed International to Oshodi.”
Citing the degeneration of the road, the governor described the degradation of Oshodi-Airport road as a national embarrassment, saying the state government had the cash “to do a total reconstruction of the road.
“In the spirit of the regeneration and urbanisation that this administration has set out to achieve, we believe strongly that the image that is exhumed by the decadence of that road must be repaired.
“We took it upon ourselves to redevelop the road. We also took it upon ourselves to appropriate the 2017 budget that the House of Assembly should approve the total reconstruction of the Airport Road from Oshodi to the International Airport,” the governor explained.
He disclosed that the state government had already a design of 10 lanes “to come from Oshodi to the International Airport with interchange and flyover that would drop you towards the Local Airport. The contractor is already set to go. Everything as I said has been completed.
“We already have the cash, but alas we are having challenges with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. This is a federal and not a state road. The Federal Ministry of Works believes that they should do the road, but they have not been able to do it all these years.
Prior to when he became the governor of the state, he said the Federal Ministry of Works had been owing the state N51billion as reimbursement for reconstruction that was carried out on federal roads in the state.
Obviously, according to the governor, whatever we are asking for can never be up to N51billion they owe us. It is only logical that they should even give us part of what they owe us so that we can complete this construction of the Airport Road within a time of six months.
He, therefore, urged the Federal Ministry of Works “to reimburse us with whatever they owe us. Even if they are not willing to pay us now, we have the money to do it. It is a national disgrace and we would not be part of it. We would like to do it as part of the celebration of Lagos at 50.”