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Sunday, 1 November 2020

Bad Roads: Senate Attacks Fashola For Blaming National Assembly

The Senate has debunked alleged claim made by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola that poor budgetary allocations for road projects by it and by extension, the National Assembly are responsible for deplorable state of Federal roads in the country.

In a statement issued by its spokesperson, Senator Ajibola Basiru (APC Osun Central), the upper legislative chamber alleged that the  Minister said so last Monday in his office while having in audience,  retired Generals and leaders of thought from Benue South Senatorial District who paid him a courtesy visit on bad state of Federal roads in the area.

Senator Basiru in the statement also alleged that the Minister lied by telling the Benue South delegation that the N600billion proposed as capital expenditure for the Ministry in 2020 budget was drastically cut down despite his Ministry's prioritization of constituency projects of the lawmakers in terms of implementation.

The Statement titled:  "Senate Debunks Minister's Claim on Budgetary Allocations to Road Construction",  reads in part: " The Senate has taken exception to a statement credited to Mr Babatunde Raji Fasola, the Hon. Minister of works that the National Assembly should be held responsible for the dilapidated state of Federal roads in Benue State, describing it as a "fallacy of the highest order."

"The Hon. Minister was quoted to have made the allegation in his office in Abuja during a courtesy call by retired Generals and 'other leaders of thought' from Benue South Senatorial District led by Air Vice Marshal Morgan Monday who came to complain about the deplorable state of roads in the senatorial district. 

"The  Senate and the National Assembly can not and should not be held responsible for the dilapidated state of roads whether in Benue State or any part of the country.

"Putting the records straight, the Senate gave the figures of the 2020 proposal for capital expenditure as N265, 868 037,093 billion by the Executive which the National Assembly passed.

"The Executive later brought revised allocation of N256, 734,983,667 billion which we also appropriated just as the 
N363, 266, 425, 976 billion capital expenditure proposed for the Ministry in 2021 fiscal year, is being looked into.

"The Senate then wondered where the Hon. Minister got his figure of N600 billion which he said was the figure proposed to the National Assembly by his ministry and which was allegedly not supported or approved by the National Assembly

"On the Minister's allusion and or allegation to prioritising constituency projects over other projects,  the Senate affirmed that the Minister was merely calling a pity party and being sentimental adding the statement was made to set the National Assembly on collision course with the people they are democratically representing.

"It should be emphasized therefore that never has allocations specifically meant for other projects ever been diverted to constituency projects as constituency projects are having allocations in the budget"

But sources close to the Ministry said Senator Basiru's statement was premised on speculation or hear say and not what actually took place or said. 

Accordimg to the sources, the said meeting between the Minister and delegation from Benue South, took place two weeks ago and not last Monday as erroneously claimed" 

"Besides, the meeting between the leaders of thoughts from Benue South and the Hon Minister, was more of situation report on state of roads from that part of the country and not protestation cum blame game discussion between the two parties.

"The most baffling aspect of the whole thing is that the said meeting was not given media coverage, making us to wonder where the Senator got his information from, as nothing of such was reported in the media two weeks ago", added the source.

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