The Ebonyi State Government, east of Nigeria, has sought refund of N25.6billion from the Federal Government in Abuja, being money spent in reconstructing federal roads in the state.
Gov. Dave Umahi made the request on Friday in Abakaliki, when the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Alhaji Mustapha Shehuri paid him a courtesy call.
Umahi who was represented by his deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe said that the refund would impact positively on the state’s economy.
“The reconstructed federal roads include: dualisation of a section of Enugu/Abakaliki federal road with two span bridges, two culverts and three flyovers, totallling-11.925km.
“The other roads include the 37.5km Abakaliki/ Oferekpe road with six bridges, dualisation of a section of Abakaliki/Afikpo road-3.5km, failed portion of the same road totaling 14.5km, among others,” he said.
The governor noted that the state would not reject any largesse given it by the Federal Government but sees the refund as a stepping stone.
“We want to translate President Buhari’s developmental strides to the grassroots, as most of the roads cut across the rural areas where farm produce are transported to the urban centres.
“We don’t want to wait for the World Bank or the United State of America to assist us in the reconstruction as we are forging a synergy with the Federal Government to achieve rapid development,” he said.
Shehuri said that he and the team from the ministry were in the state to assess the condition of federal roads in Ebonyi.
“The federal government instituted an inter-ministerial committee headed by my ministry’s substantive Minister, Mr Babatunde Fashola, to assess federal roads reconstructed by state governments.
“The committee would also look into the various requests by state governments for the refund of the money used in reconstructing these roads.
“We are therefore in Ebonyi with our technical team to conduct the assessment and duly present our findings to the president,” he said.
He noted that the president is expected to take appropriate measures on the recommendations, as transportation was one of the cardinal tools of the FG’s economic re-engineering.
“We pray that these series of collective engagement would engender rapid social development for both parties, as we promise to carry-out our duties diligently,” he said.