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FG reacts to NASS comments, rejigs FERMA, orders repair of 44 roads

Barely two months after the Nigerian Senate voiced their anger and disappointments on the performance of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) especially in managing federal roads across the federation, the President, in a new year nationwide broadcast announced  the restructuring of the agency for better performance.

President Buhari also gave FERMA 12 weeks to fix a number of major roads in bad condition.

Specifically, the President said 44 roads would be given a new look by FERMA, adding that the roads cut across the six geo-political zones of the country.

“Management of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency has been reconstituted and has been charged with a 12-week rapid intervention in road repairs to cover all the geo-political zones. Government is undertaking repairs and maintenance of 44 roads within the six geo-political zones,” he said.

Buhari also said that 25 major roads would be funded with the N100bn Sukuk facility, adding that each geo-political zone would get an equal amount of N16.67bn. The Sukuk is an Islamic bond, structured in such a way as to generate returns to investors without infringing on Islamic law.

The Federal Government in October last year announced the commencement of the sale of a N100bn ($326m) seven-year Islamic bond on the local market, which the Debt Management Office said would yield a 16.47 per cent rental rate and payable semi-annually. It was oversubscribed.

The roads that would receive special attention were given as Oyo – Ogbomosho; Ofusu – Ore – Ajebandele-Sagamu; Yenagoa Road Junction – Kolo Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm; Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Way; Onitsha – Enugu Expressway and Kaduna Eastern Bypass.

Others would involve the dualisation of Kano – Maiduguri Road; Abuja – Lokoja – Benin Road; and Suleja – Minna Road.

“In addition, government has approved work to start on the reconstruction of Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano road which is in a state of disrepair. Work will soon start and is expected to be completed in 2019,” the President said.