Senate debunks Fashola’s claim on N600b allocation for roads

November 2, 2020

THE Senate on Sunday denied a statement credited to the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, that the National Assembly should be held responsible for the poor state of Federal roads in Benue State.
Fashola reportedly made the statement when retired senior soldiers and “other leaders of thought” from Benue South Senatorial District visited him in Abuja.
He was said to have alleged that N600 billion proposed for capital expenditure was not approved by the National Assembly.
The group, led by Air Vice Marshal Morgan Monday (retd.), had reportedly complained about the deplorable state of roads in the senatorial district.
In a statement by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru, the upper chamber described the allegation as a “fallacy of the highest order”.
Basiru insisted that the National Assembly cannot and should not be held responsible for the deplorable state of roads, whether in Benue State or in any other part of the country.

The senator said even though the Senate would not want to join issues with the minister over the claim, it decided to publicly debunk the allegations because issues about Nigerian roads are important and controversial.
He added that it was necessary to put the records straight to disabuse the minds of members of the public about the acts of the National Assembly.
“The records 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,” he said.
According to him, the 2020 capital expenditure proposed by the Executive and passed by the National is N265 billion.
Basiru said the Executive later brought a revised capital budget of N256 billion, which was also approved by the National Assembly.
The senator explained that in the 2021 Appropriation Bill being considered by the National Assembly, the Executive proposed a capital expenditure of N363 billion.
He wondered where Fashola got his figure of N600 billion, which he claimed was the figure proposed but was allegedly not approved by the National Assembly.
Basiru urged Nigerians, especially the minister’s guests from Benue State South Senatorial District, to note that “figures do not lie”.
He listed three ongoing road projects in the Benue South Senatorial District to include Oju-Adum Okuku road at N91,180,000, Otukpo township road at N357,200,000 and Oju/Loko-Oweto bridge at N357,200,000.
On the Minister’s allegation that the National Assembly prioritised constituency projects over others, the Senate spokesperson said Fashola was merely being sentimental.
“It should be emphasised, therefore, that never have allocations specifically meant for other projects ever been diverted to constituency projects, as constituency projects have their allocations in the budget,” he said.
He said that execution of all constituency projects is statutory carried out by the Executive through its various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

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