By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday lamented that the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing led by ex-Lagos Governor, Babatunde Fashola is frustrating the state government’s plan to reconstruct the Murtala Muhammed International, MMI, Airport Road from the Oshodi end.
The governor, who addressed newsmen at the State House, Ikeja after inspecting ongoing projects in the state also said the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is also frustrating the planned handover of the Presidential Lodge to Lagos long after President Muhammadu Buhari approved the handing over of the project.
The governor described the Oshodi-International Airport Road degradation as a national embarrassment, saying that the state government had the cash to do a total reconstruction of the road.
According to Ambode, “The road linking Oshodi to the International Airport, you would all agree with me is a national embarrassment.
“In the spirit of the regeneration and urbanisation that this administration has set out to achieve, we believe strongly that the image that is exhumed by the decadence of that road must be repaired and we took it upon ourselves to appropriate in the 2017 budget that the House of Assembly should approve the total reconstruction of the Airport Road from Oshodi to the International Airport.”
“The State currently has a design of 10 lanes to come from Oshodi to the International Airport with interchange and flyover that would drop you towards the Local Airport.
“The contractor is already set to go and everything as I said, has been completed and we already have the cash, but alas we are having challenges with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
“This is a Federal and not a State road. The Federal Ministry of Works believes that they should do the road, but they have not been able to do it all these years past.
“I just want to remind Lagosians that prior to my becoming Governor, the Federal Ministry of Works has been owing Lagos State a total of N51billion as reimbursement for reconstruction that was carried out by the State Government on federal roads in the State,” he said.
Ambode continued: “So obviously, what we are asking for is that whatever it is that we are asking for, it can never be up to the N51 billion that they are owing us. It is only logical that they should even give us part of what they are owing us so that we can complete this construction of the Airport Road within a time of six months.
“I just want to appeal to the Federal Ministry of Works, to let go or reimburse us with whatever it is that they are owing us and even if they are not willing to pay us now, we have the money to do it. It is a national disgrace and we would not be part of it. We would like to do it as part of the celebration of Lagos at 50.”
On Lagos at 50 celebration, Ambode said government would soon roll out programmes for the event, but lamented that the Presidential lodge, Marina which would play a crucial role in the celebration had not been handed over to the state government.
He said the state government was being tossed about by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and the Department of State Services, DSS even after Buhari had approved its handover to Lagos.
“Buhari has actually approved handing over of the presidential lodge, as we speak, nothing has been done, we are being frustrated. The approval of Buhari should be honoured. We must believe we should take possession so that we can take over,” he stated.