Emerging reports show that there may be a battle brewing between the Federal Government and the States Governments over the delay in refunding the money spent by the latter on federal roads.
Punch reports that the Federal Government owes Sokoto State the sum of N16.8 billion; Cross River State, N25 billion; Ekiti State, N11 billion; Anambra State, N15 billion; and Gombe State, N6.34 billion.
Following the directive by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, (SAN), who stated that President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the state governments to stop rehabilitating federal roads, the states affected and owed money have criticized the move while demanding that the funds be reimbursed.
Speaking on the N25 billion the Federal Government owes Cross River state, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ben Ayade, Christian Ita, said that repairs had been done on federal roads like the Calabar-Itu Road and the Calabar-Ikom Highway by the state government but there was a delay in the refund.
According to a Sokoto State Government official, who pleaded anonymity, the Federal Government owed the state N16.8 billion for the repair of federal roads by the state government. He said the projects included the 85km Sokoto-Illela Road and the expansion of the 18.5km Western and Eastern Bye-pass roads.
The Akwa Ibom state government on the other hand, when contacted, made it clear that the Federal Government had not refunded the N78 billion it owed from the road repairs by the state government.
Other states being owed funds for road repairs include Ekiti, Ondo, Anambra, Gombe, Benue and Enugu.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has responded to the delay in the refund, saying it was due to the verification being done by the federal agencies. According to the Special Adviser to the Minister of Works and Housing, Hakeem Bello, a committee had already been established to handle the matter.
“The Inter-Ministerial Presidential Committee was set up by Mr President. The committee did its work and then sent a report to the Bureau of Public Procurement. The BPP will then recommend what is supposed to be paid based on the documents and verification done. The BPP sends it back to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
“The FMWH then sends it to the Federal Executive Council and after FEC approval, it goes to the National Assembly and from there it is the Federal Ministry of Finance that will then pay,” he said.