Fashola also attributed the delay in the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan highway to a lack of funds and an increase in the price of construction materials.
By Mosope Michaels
The Minister of Public Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said that he will soon leave public service and said he wants to take a break after 21 years in politics.
Fashola also blamed the increase in the price of construction materials and a shortage of funds for the delay in the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
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The minister made the disclosure on Thursday, January 3, when he appeared on the Continental TV show Your View, where he called for patience and cooperation with Nigerian contractors as security barriers that were removed over Christmas were returned to the project site.
The former Lagos state governor also assured commuters that the last mile of the road project would be completed in the first quarter of 2023, while blaming the previous administration for neglecting critical infrastructure.
He said: “Let me first thank the travelers who use that road, a major transportation artery in Nigeria for their understanding. This road could have been built between 1999 and 2015 but it was not. This trail is in better shape than what we inherited and is now in the last mile of completion.
“The main source of delay first is funding.
“Remember at one point this path was completely removed from the budget and I was involving the National Assembly until the president revealed the presidential infrastructure development fund which was essentially LNG investments from Nigeria and funds recovered from outside Nigeria. .
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“So when people talk about corruption and anti-corruption, a president who is going to recover stolen funds and invest it for his people is the real anti-corruption as far as I am concerned.
“In the security barriers, they are there because we are building through a major transportation artery. Our latest traffic count indicates that at least N40,000 vehicles use that road from the Lagos end to the Sagamu end.
“After Sagamu, it drops to 22,000, so it has to be managed to ensure the safety of construction workers.
“We shut down work on the site in December because construction companies traditionally shut down in mid-December and resume in mid-January.
“We still hope to finish the project in the first quarter.”
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Speaking about the traffic jam on the Lagos-Ogun highway axis, he said: “You cannot expect to drive fast in a construction zone, there will be a bit of a slowdown and it is in that slowdown that ‘how we behave’ becomes very important.” .
Speaking further about the measures designed to alleviate suffering on the road, Fashola revealed that the construction of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway had received funding of N7 billion from the new Sukuk bonds, ensuring that the pains of Ogun residents they will be alleviated soon.
“I hear the concern about Lagos-Abeokuta (Highway) and there are people we should ask why Lagos-Abeokuta (Highway) was not built.
“I can categorically say that all roads leading to and from Lagos as Nigeria’s strategic business capital are receiving one form of attention or another.
“Again, the contractors had left the site when we arrived and we revived and we are putting the Sukuk on it and the last Sukuk is around N7 billion. So, we don’t have all the money to build it. I understand that there is more pain on the Ogun side, but the work on the Lagos side continues because the contractor is building from Lagos to Ogun.
“In a matter of weeks, I am hopeful that we will have a more satisfactory financial solution not only for Lagos-Abeokuta but also for Akure and Ado Ekiti and once that is done, whether we are in government or not, those will be built. roads. ,” he said.
Fashola further justified the need to charge tolls on some of the highways being built by the federal government, saying it was a necessary business venture as it would increase revenue without sacrificing the quality of service provided to travelers.