The Federal Government has cut its budget for the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway from N66bn to N50bn in the 2016 Appropriation Bill, representing a drop of 24 per cent.
Currently undergoing reconstruction, the two contractors handling the project, Julius Berger Plc and Reynolds Construction Company (Nigeria) Limited, are being owed several billions of naira for the job executed.
They have vacated the road following the unpaid debts and a recent court injunction obtained by Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited, setting aside a concession agreement granted Motorway Assets Limited to finance the project and manage it.
Not more than N50bn has been raised by the government for the N167bn road project, which is expected to be completed next year.
In the initial budget for 2016 presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammad Buhari, N66bn was voted for the highway among other road projects.
But in the reviewed copy obtained on Friday, the appropriation for the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway had come down to N50bn.
Although no reasons were officially offered for the slash, it was learnt that this was to ensure judicious distribution of funds that would be available for the year in view of the dwindling revenue from the oil.
A total of N244.123bn has been earmarked for the construction and provision of road facilities across the country in the reviewed 2016 Appropriation Bill.
This also showed some adjustments when compared with what was contained in the former proposal earlier sighted by one of our correspondents.
For instance, an analysis of appropriations for the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing showed a series of adjustments in the section that captured construction, provision and repair of roads across the country.
The latest report showed that N244.123bn was budgeted for the construction and provision of roads while the government earmarked N277.95m for the rehabilitation and repairs of other items aside from roads.
From the latest bill, it was clear that the government raised the appropriation for road construction/provision by N45.73bn when compared with the N198.39bn initially appropriated for the construction/provision and rehabilitation/repairs of roads in the first bill earlier presented by the President.
Under the construction/provision section in the latest bill for the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, the highest allocation was appropriated for the construction and provision of roads.
Out of a total of N326.886bn appropriated for the construction and provision of fixed assets in the ministry, the road sector alone received N244.123bn, representing 74.68 per cent of the total.
The remaining N82.763bn or 25.32 per cent was shared among other sectors such as housing and electricity.
Indeed, the construction/provision of housing got N49.53bn; the construction/provision of electricity received N25.1bn, while the vote for the construction/provision of office buildings was put at N6.16bn.
Others are the construction/provision of infrastructure, N1.1bn; water facilities, N686.95m; rehabilitation/repairs of public schools, N42m; and rehabilitation of office buildings, N171.25m, amongst others.
Senior government officials at the works ministry told one of our correspondents that the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, would soon give directives on the commencement of work on selected federal roads.
According to them, the minister is presently working out ways to settle some of the debts owed contractors in order to encouraged them to move to the project sites.
An official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Work will commence on our roads soon. The minister has been on tour for some weeks now, and he is trying to see how the government can settle some of the debts owed contractors so that they can return to project sites when called upon.
“So, on whether the government is ready to fulfil its pledge concerning road construction, I can assure you that very soon many contractors will resume work on these roads.”
While unveiling the Federal Government’s blueprint on infrastructural development in December last year, Fashola had stated that the present administration would give priority attention to the completion of major highways.
Fashola had said, “Our short-term strategy will be to start with roads that have made some progress and can be quickly completed to facilitate connectivity. We will prioritise within this strategy by choosing first the roads that connect states together, and from that grouping, we will start with those that bear the heaviest traffic.”
University Of Ibadan (UI) Goes Digital, Releases Timetable for Virtual Academic Session
University of Ibadan (UI) on Friday announced it is going ahead with resumption on February 20 despite the second wave of COVID-19.
In a statement released by the school, the First Semester of the 2020/2021 academic session will commence virtually on February 20, 2021.
The virtual academic session will last for 13 straight weeks and end on Friday May 12, 2021, while the matriculation ceremony will hold on Tuesday March 16, 2021.
The University of Ibadan also scheduled one week for the Finalization of Continuous Assessment, to begin from Mon. 17 May and ends Friday 21 May.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases has compelled the Senate to approve the virtual academic session in an effort to ensure the tertiary institution abides by the protocols established by the Federal Government to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“It, therefore, agreed that the 2020/2021 First Semester lectures will be delivered online. In this regard, students will not be accommodated on campus,” a statement from the school said.
“Senate also approved the cancellation of the 2019/2020 session. The next session is, therefore, renamed 2020/2021 Academic Session. Consequently, students who have been admitted for the 2019/2020 session will now be regarded as the 2020/2021 intakes.
“Kindly note that online opening of Registration Portal and Orientation Programme for the 2020/2021 intakes may commence ahead of the Sat 20/02/21 date indicated above,” the statement said.
House of Representatives Impeached Trump Over Capitol Invasion
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for the second time after instigating the US Capitol invasion.
Led by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, 232 representatives, including 10 Republicans, voted to impeach the outgoing president against 197 that voted for him to remain in the office for the next six days when he would handover to the president-elect, Joe Biden.
The ten Republicans were Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the party’s No. 3 leader in the House; Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington; John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton of Michigan; Dan Newhouse of Washington; Peter Meijer of Michigan; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; David Valadao of California; and Tom Rice of South Carolina.
Speaking before the vote, Pelosi said “a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the Republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”
“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said, adding later, “It gives me no pleasure to say this — it breaks my heart.”
Republicans, who unanimously stood behind president Trump in 2019 during his first impeachment, were divided this time over the attack on Capitol.
A Republican representative from California, Kevin McCarthy, said “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” Mr. McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”
US Congress Declares Joe Biden as The 46th President of The United States After Trump Mob Left
The joint congress of the United States on Thursday, January 7, 2021 certified Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States following President Trump’s mob action that disrupted the congress joint proceeding on Wednesday.
After ordering his followers to disrupt proceedings on Wednesday, President Trump later announced that there will be an orderly transition on January 20.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement issued by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino.
“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” Trump added.
While the certification was just a mere formality as Biden had secured enough electoral college votes (270) required to clinch the world’s most powerful seat, the refusal of Donald Trump to accept the results of the November 2020 election made the session a keenly watched, especially after Trump mob disrupted a joint session of the Senate.
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