ABUJA, Nigeria – The Senate has taken exception to a statement credited to Mr Babatunde Raji Fasola, the Hon. Minister of works that the National Assembly should be held responsible for the dilapidated state of Federal roads in Benue State, describing it as a “fallacy of the highest order”.
The Hon. Minister was quoted to have made the allegation in his office in Abuja during a courtesy call by retired Generals and ‘other leaders of thought’ from Benue South Senatorial District led by Air Vice Marshal Morgan Monday, who came to complain about the deplorable state of roads in the senatorial district.
Speaking through its Chairman of Media Committee, Senator Ajibola Basiru, the Senate said the National Assembly can not and should not be held responsible for the dilapidated state of roads whether in Benue State or any part of the country.
The Senate, which said that though it would not want to engage in any unnecessary altercation with the Minister, however, stated that it has to speak up because the issue of roads infrastructure is important and controversial, added that it is necessary to put all the records straight so as to disabuse the minds of the unsuspecting public about the acts of the National Assembly.
“The records are needed to be set right so that the two arms of government should not be seen as working at cross purposes in the course of delivering dividends and good governance to electorates”, the Spokesman said.
Putting the records straight, the Senate gave the figures of the 2020 proposal for capital expenditure as 265, 868 037, 093 billion Naira by the Executive which the National Assembly passed. The Executive later brought revised allocation of 256, 734,983,667 billion Naira which we also appropriated.
“As we talk, even in the budget proposal for 2021, the Executive proposed a capital expenditure of 363, 266, 425, 976 billion Naira”.
The Senate then wondered where the Hon. Minister got his figure of 600 billion Naira which he said was the figure proposed to the National Assembly by his ministry and which was allegedly not supported or approved by the National Assembly.
The Senate therefore invites Nigerians and specifically the Ministers guests from Benue State South Senatorial District to note that “figures do not lie”.
The Senate, however, listed three road constructions which are ongoing in the Benue South to be Oju-Adum-Uwoku road at N 91,180 000; Oturko Township road at N357 200, 000 and Oju/ Loko-Oweto bridge at a cost of N357, 200, 000.
On the Minister’s allusion and or allegation to prioritising constituency projects over other projects, the Senate affirmed that the Hon. Minister was merely calling a pity party and being sentimental, adding, the statement was made to set the National Assembly on collision course with the people they are democratically representing.
“It should be emphasized, therefore, that never has allocations specifically meant for other projects ever been diverted to constituency projects as constituency projects are having allocations in the budget”.
The Senate said that execution of the much talked about constituency projects lies within the Executive Arm of government through its various ministries, agencies and parastatals.