Tinubu inherited over N6trn road projects debt from Buhari – Umahi

PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu inherited over six trillion debts from road projects not completed by his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, the minister of works, David Umahi, revealed on Monday, November 27. 

In a statement he shared on his X handle, the minister acknowledged that there were recently completed and ongoing projects badly executed. 

These include the Makurdi-Nsukka 9th Mile Road, East-West Road, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Benin Bypass Road, collapsed bridges on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Road, collapsed bridges in Shandam, Plateau State, Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Road, and Gombe-Bauchi Road, as reported by media houses.

According to the statement, President Tinubu is aware of many deplorable roads he inherited from Buhari. 

“Mr. President is not complaining of the challenges he inherited in nearly all sectors of the economy, especially as it concerns our road infrastructure, but he is quite courageous as he had promised to tackle the problems head-on, which he has started to do not minding the debt burden inherited especially the funding gap of over six trillion naira (₦6 trillion) from most of the inherited on-going road projects.

“Mr. President has since reeled out plans of commitment, consistency, and innovations towards actualising a sustainable road infrastructure development throughout the country. He has just approved a 2023 supplementary budget of three hundred billion naira (₦300B) for the Ministry of Works comprising one hundred billion naira (₦100 billion) for immediate palliative works in 36 States and FCT and two hundred billion naira (₦200 billion) for the continuation of most of the inherited ongoing projects and very few new but critical road projects.”

On November 16, The ICIR exposed how the Senate slashed or completely removed huge funds meant for road construction in the 2022 supplementary budget while reviewing the budget under its present leadership, headed by Godswill Akpabio. 

In the report, The ICIR highlighted that the Senate, particularly its president,  Akpabio, his deputy, Barau Jibrin and the Senate appropriations chairman, Solomon Adeola (also known as Yayi), diverted over N20 billion in projects to their constituencies, resources that should have gone into solving flooding problems and road projects in several states.

Umahi pledged that his intervention in Nigeria roads would be comprehensive, using approved palliative measures and leveraging the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency’s (FERMA) interventions across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He also charged the public to supervise and report any erring contractors or badly executed projects by contacting 08030986263, 08037086137, or 08106423197.



    We have not banned the use of asphalt 

    Meanwhile, the minister expressed shock over “the various acts of darkening counsel without knowledge of the position of the ministry on the use of asphalt and concrete pavement in the development of our road infrastructure by people who have vowed not to release their hands off the brake of our road infrastructure development just for their selfish gains.”

    He explained that the ministry had not banned the use of asphalt or directed that concrete pavement should be the only means of road pavement structure, adding that the ministry’s new policy allowed all contractors for all the ongoing projects to have a choice to continue to use asphalt or have their projects redesigned on concrete at no extra cost to the government following the under listed conditions:

    • Use of asphalt: contractors shall stick to only five per cent variation on price (VOP) in line with the signed contract agreement throughout the period of the project and the signed contract shall not be subject to review, especially on bituminous items.
    • The thickness of the asphalt pavement as designed must be strictly adhered to by all such contractors and the design shelf life for the asphalt (at least 15 years) shall be guaranteed by issuing an insurance bond through a reputable insurance company in favour of the Federal Government. 
    • For the use of concrete, contractors must abide by the five per cent VOP and 50 years design shelf life using concrete grade 40.

    The ministry said effective December 1, 2023, there would be a revolution in the ways and methods the ministry supervised her projects nationwide.

    “The director of works of the 36 States and FCT and  FERMA have been directed to audit all projects in their states and FCT, especially equipment on and off sites with their pictures, personnel of contractors, status of all projects including financial status (contract sum, date of award, period of construction and time table, amount paid, challenges,  percentage of work completion, augmentation of project if any, VOP claims etc). This assignment must be completed before 30th November 2023. Note that this directive was given since the past two months,” the minister added.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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