*As House move to visit Army Formations Nationwide over insecurity
By Christiana Ekpa
The Chairman of the House of Representatives committee on Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Rep. Olufemi Bamisile on Wednesday disclosed that members were disturbed by a statement credited to the minister of works and housing, Babatunde Fashola saying that federal government will not refund money spent by state governors to repair federal roads traversing such state.
The Chairman disclosed this during the committee’s inugural meeting held in Abuja.
According to the chairman, the minister has indirectly told the state governors not to repair federal roads in their states.
He said, “the question is simple, does it mean that Nigeria’s would not get any value for the various taxes they pay? Does it mean that Nigerians will continue to be exposed to dangers associated with our roads littered with gullies and potholes? The questions are endless and this committee must address this issue so that we can provide good governance to our constituents and Nigerians as a whole.
“I need to remind us that 99 percent of Nigerians rely on road to get to their destinations within the country. Some Nigerians cannot afford to travel by air. Unfortunately, transportation by rail is limited at the moment because the only functional railway line is Abuja- Kaduna rail. Therefore we have a duty as a committee to ensure that our roads are safe and motorable.
Bamisile called on the committee members to think out of the box in order to assist FERMA access over 64 billion naira meant to come from a percentage of petroleum product sale.
“I read a report recently in the media where the MD of FERMA lamented the inability of the agency to access over 64billion naira meant to come from a percentage of petroleum products sale. I learnt that as you drive into any filling station to fuel your car, there is a certain percentage that foes into a fund dedicated for road maintenace” .
He therefore called on all members of the committee to put in their best to work towards fixing bad roads across the country.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives committee on army, on wednesday resolved to embark on a tour to Nigerian army formations across the country.
The Committee Chairman, Hon. Abdulrazaq Namdas stated thus during the commitees inugural meeting in Abuja.
According to Namdas, the tour will acquaint them with the challenges confronting the force. the panel would conduct the tour soon.
“Honourable members, you will recall that the 2020 budget proposal was presented yesterday by Mr President. We are going to hit the ground running by immediately embarking on a joint committee tour with our Senate counterparts to selected Army formations to acquaint ourselves with the challenges faced by our officers and men.
“I believe by taking an on-the-spot assessment of the formations, we will be better equipped to appreciate the challenges and acquire the wherewithal to appropriate funds for the Army”, he said.
He commended the Nigerian army for its good showing in the fight against insurgency.
“I wish to, on behalf of the committee and the House of Representatives, commend the Nigerian Army and the entire Nigerian Military for the successes recorded so far in the fight against insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling among others”
Namdas also applauded President Buhari for his commitment to routing out all manner of security threats in the nation. “We thank His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his avowed commitment to stamp out Boko Haram and activities of other terrorist groups in the nation.
“We want to assure you that the House Committee on Army under my leadership would do everything within its powers to ensure that capacity building for members of the committee is strengthened so as to prepare us for the challenges ahead”
He told members of the committee that the Nigerian army is the biggest component of the nation’s armed forces and enjoined them to consider their appointment on the committee as call to service.