The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, insisted on Wednesday that Nigerian roads were not that bad as often portrayed.
Speaking shortly after the Federal Executive Council meeting, he said reports on the poor state of the country’s roads were mere hypes.
The FEC meeting, which was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, approved N58.4billion for the construction of Bida-Sachi-Nupeko road and the Nupeko-Patigi Bridge across River Niger, linking Nupeko and Patigi in Niger and Kwara states.
The PUNCH had on June 24, reported that federal roads were in a terrible state of disrepair. According to the report, the bad state of the roads has been aiding bandits and herdsmen, who kill and kidnap travellers in impassable spots on the highways.
Some of the roads listed included the 110-kilometre-Gusau-Dansadau Road in Zamfara State; the Oyo-Iseyin road in Oyo State and the Makurdi-Gboko-Katsina Alla-Zaki Biam Road, which links Benue State to Taraba State.
But on Wednesday, Fashola, while dismissing reports on bad state of the highways said, “The roads are not as bad as they are often portrayed. I know that this is going to be your headline, but the roads are not that bad”, he told State House Correspondents.
The minister explained that, but for funding challenges, most road projects would have been long completed.
Fashola also stated that some parts of the country faced peculiar issues like high water table, which made construction in the rainy season difficult.
He mentioned the South-East and the South-South among areas with such difficulties.
The minister added that the ministry and contractors were waiting patiently for the rains to subside so that they could return to sites.
Reacting to Fashola’s assessment of Nigerian roads, the Chairman, Infrastructure Development Committee, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Ibrahim Usman, said contrary to what the minister said, Nigerian roads were very bad.
He said, “I think the minister is being economical with the truth. The roads are terrible. Take for instance the Biu to Gombe road that took one-and-a-half hours in the past to ply, now it takes four hours to get from Biu to Gombe. The luck we have is that Boko Haram has not stuck on that road.
“Another terrible road is the Damaturu-Biu road. That also takes four hours when in the past it took less than two hours.That was where military trucks and equipment were seized and taken into the bush by bandits some weeks back. At least if the roads are good, cars can move with speed but when the roads are terrible, movement is difficult and it is easy for robbers to attack.”
Usman said his cars could no longer ply the roads and he had to park them.
He said he recently travelled from Lagos to Cotonou where he spent three hours getting to Cotonou but from Cotonou to Lome, he did not find a single pothole and the trip took less than the length of time it took to go from Lagos to Cotonou.
Lawan: NASS Will Approve Any Request from Buhari
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Thursday said any request from President Muhammadu Buhari would make Nigeria a better place, and such would be acted on “expeditiously.”
Lawan spoke when the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Itse Sagay visited him in his office on Thursday.
Sagay had called for the timely passage of the Special Criminal Court and other similar bills, saying such would help the anti-corruption war and ensure that the fight was successfully won with speed and energy.
He also appealed to the Senate to consider the confirmation of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.
Responding, Lawan said, “This is a new Senate. Going by our rules and I believe that goes for the House of Reps too, any issue that was not concluded in the last National Assembly, will have to start all over again.
“So, as far as we are concerned, those bills will have to come again and start to go through the process from the very beginning.
“We are ready. In fact, we are in a haste if those bills are ready for us to start working on them.”
Lawan said there was no request before the Senate for the confirmation of the acting chairman of the EFCC.
“I want to assure you that any request that comes from Mr President is a request that will make Nigeria a better place in terms of appointments or legislation.
“When such request comes, the Senate will act expeditiously to ensure that we play our part in the confirmation or passing of legislation appropriately.”
Buhari Hails Jonathan @ 62, Says His Humility, Patriotism Will Continue to Resonate
President Muhammadu Buhari has praised former President Goodluck Jonathan’s humility and patriotism, saying that the qualities will continue to resonate.
This is contained in a message to congratulate his predecessor, who has turned 62.
The message, signed by his media aide, Mr Femi Adesina, reads, “President Muhammadu Buhari felicitates former President Goodluck Jonathan on his 62nd birthday, joining the nation in praying for longer life, good health and more strength to keep serving the nation.
“President Buhari rejoices with family, friends and political associates of the former president, lauding him for good counsels to leaders within and outside Nigeria since he left office, sharing his experience of serving at different levels of governance.
“President Buhari believes the former President’s legacy of humility and patriotism will continue to resonate, inspiring generations to come on the sacrifices made for the stability of democracy and promotion of sustainable development.
“The President wishes the former President and his family more years of joyful celebrations.”
Tottenham Hotspur: Pochettino Out, Jose Mourinho In
Jose Mourinho was on Wednesday appointed Tottenham’s new manager to replace the sacked Mauricio Pochettino, with the club languishing 14th in the Premier League.
The Portuguese former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United manager signed a contract until the end of the 2022/23 season, the north London club said in a statement.
Pochettino, 47, transformed Spurs’ fortunes after arriving from Southampton in 2014 and although he failed to win a trophy he took the club to the Champions League final for the first time in their history just six months ago.
But the Argentine was sacked on Tuesday, with Tottenham struggling in the league after picking up just three wins from their opening 12 games.
This season they were knocked out of the League Cup by fourth-tier Colchester United and suffered an embarrassing 7-2 defeat at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
“I am excited to be joining a club with such a great heritage and such passionate supporters,” said Mourinho, who has won domestic titles in a record four different countries.
“The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with these players is what has attracted me.”
Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy said: “In Jose we have one of the most successful managers in football. He has a wealth of experience, can inspire teams and is a great tactician.
“He has won honours at every club he has coached. We believe he will bring energy and belief to the dressing room.”
Spurs hailed their new boss, saying in their statement: “Jose is one of the world’s most accomplished managers having won 25 senior trophies.”
He won Champions League titles with Porto and Inter Milan.
The 56-year-old Portuguese won three Premier League titles over two spells in charge of Chelsea and returned to England to manage Manchester United in 2016.
Mourinho was sacked last December following a poor run of results and has been out of work since, most recently working as a TV pundit.
His first match in charge will be the London derby away to West Ham on Saturday.