The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday approved N5.44 billion for road construction between Otukpo (Benue State) and Enugu State.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola spoke with reporters at the end of the FEC meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He was with Minister of Information Lai Mohammed and Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika.
The approval is to cover work on the Enugu section of the road.
He said: “My Ministry handled one memo today and it was for the Ugbokolo section of the 9th Mile/Oturkpo road that links Enugu State to Benue State. The Benue section is already under construction, so, what we have just done is to award the 36 kilometers that connects the Enugu section to the road.
“This is a major agrarian connectivity in support of our agricultural policies. The council approved that memorandum, the award was to the existing contractor who is already working on the Benue section so that we should have a seamless deployment of machines and materials to site. We expect that this should be completed in 24 months. The contract sum is N5.44 billion.”
When asked the nature of work to be done, he said: “It is a 7.2 meter width road and total rehabilitation of what is currently being done there.”
Sirika disclosed that the FEC approved independent power supply to Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport, Abuja.
He said: “As you are aware, we had challenges at our first day of work in 2018. The new terminal building at the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport, which is called Chinese building, has challenge of power, water, sewage.
“So, we have to find a way of dealing with those challenges; we are putting up an independent power system at the airport which has been approved by FEC. Subsequently, we will also tend to the challenges of water, sewage, apron, connectivity between old and new airport and all the fire stations that is blocking the usage of the airport and perhaps also the control tower that is connecting the other side of the airport.
“All these will be attended to in phases in preparation to the fully utilisation of the airport.”
Mohammed said the government was concerned with the herdsmen and farmers clashes.
“It is receiving attention at the highest level,” he said
On the need for deployment of military to Benue State, he said: “As to who to send, that will be decided after thorough deliberations on the matter.”
When asked to confirm report that the President’s son, Yusuf Buhari, who was involved in bike accident, had been flown abroad, he said: “I am sure you know that this is purely a private matter. I am sure you will appreciate that.”
Asked to differentiate between cattle colony and cattle ranches, he said: “I’m not an agricultural experts but a colony is much bigger in nature than a ranch.”
Speaking further on the difference, Sirika said: “I’m not speaking as an agricultural expert but perhaps growing up in the hinterlands where I grew up, there used to be cattle routes, we call them ‘burtali’ in local language, this was established by the Federal Government in 1914.
“It is a designated routes where they follow, feed, graze, drink water. When that one was available, there was no farmer/herdsmen clash because the routes are specific, identified and mapped and are paid for compensation over time. But I think due to development and increase in population these routes are either captured or converted to farms.
“The question of colony or grazing land or whatever name they are called is about the same thing really. I don’t think government will do anything without recourse to owners of farm lands and laws of the land.”
Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu briefed the Council on the anti-graft war.