Abuja — Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, yesterday said the President Muhammadu-led administration inherited about N1 trillion debts from state governments for repair of roads across the country.
Fashola, who made this known during a two-day interactive session with the Francis Uduyok-led ad-hoc Committee on Abandoned Federal Government Projects (Works) from 1999 till date, said this necessitated the Buhari-led government to direct states to desist from repairing federal roads due to the high costs being demanded after such repairs.
According to him, "The states submitted a bill of almost N1 trillion, when President Buhari was elected. He asked us to work out the entitlement of each state among others. Ultimately, the Bureau Public Procurement (BPP) certified about N44 billion. I don't remember the exact amount now. Except for two states, I think Cross River and another state; they didn't have the documents at the time, which we have sent back to the President.
"But the decision to pay those inherited debts, including the ones I contracted as a governor in Lagos, was with the caveat that I should tell the governors to leave his roads alone. Those were the directives. I was not the one that took the decision."
The minister said he was directed to tell the states not to fix the federal roads again if they were going to claim compensation, adding that the amount of inherited debt was more than the budget of the ministry.
Responding to the federal lawmakers, who noted that the ministry is handling too much projects by handling 472 road projects at once, Fashola attributed the development to demands by lawmakers.
He advocated the need to stop embarking on new projects so as to complete old ones, stating that "money is not enough for what we want to build."