Daily Champion (Lagos)

21 October 2008

Nigeria: Benue Spends N19.5 Billion On Infrastructure

Lagos — Benue state government at the weekend revealed that it has spent over N19.5 billion on the provision of infrastructure in some parts of the state.

Special Adviser to the State Governor on Media Matters, Dr. Cletus Akwaya, who made the disclosure, said the areas of concentration were on road construction and water.

According to Dr. Akwaya, the money was utilised to reconstruct several urban roads in the state capital, Markurdi and some of the inter-local government roads in the state, which he noted, were in deplorable conditions.

Akwaya said in order to actualise the objectives of the Govrnor Gabriel Suswam-led administration in the state, contracts for the roads were divided in bits and awarded for about 100 urban roads in the state capital, while second generation roads were executed in the major cities in the three senatorial zones of the state.

The adviser, who was one-time Information Commission, explained that as soon as Suswam took over the mantle of leadership as the state governor last year, he set up a committee of experts to take an audit of infrastructural needs and deficiencies in the state.

He said the decision to set up the committee was to "enable the governor know the condition of infrastructure in Benue state and to determine how best to tackle the problem."

Akwaya said the committee found out that almost all the streets in the state capital were not motorable and that similar situation obtained in all the senatorial zones and rural area of the state.

"With the information at his disposal, the Governor Suswam then designed a modality for systematic rebuilding of these broken-down infrastructure and also to restore hope of the people in governance and those in government.

"You can see for yourselves if you come to Makurdi. We now have good asphalted roads all over the places. People now move about on good roads and driving through the streets of Makurdi is now a pleasurable ride. We did this to save our people and visitors, who have been forced to be rushed to the hospitals due to road traffic accidents," he stressed.

On why the governor placed emphasis on provision of infrastructure, Akwaya said it was predicted on Hon. Suswam's conviction that being a rural and farming state, the farmers needed access roads to evacuate their produce.

On water supply, the special adviser told the journalists that the state government embarked the construction of the gigantic Greater Makurdi Water Scheme as a permanent solution to the problem of water scarcity in the state capital.

He said that the project has a capacity of 100,000 cubic litres of water and was awarded at a cost of N4.9 billion with a completion period of 18 months.

Similar contracts, he added, were awarded for the other senatorial districts, namely Katsina-Ala and Oturkpo were the state is executing water projects valued at N1.5 billion and N2.5 billion respectively.

On HIV/AIDS scorge, the aide said the state government was committed to the fight, explaining that Suswan in realization of its negative effects on the citizenry raised the State Action Committee on AIDS to the status of an agency.

He assured that the governor would complete all the projects it awarded contracts for as governor Suswan, according to him, would not handover uncompleted projects to his successor.

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