The Nigeria Senate has vehemently disagree with the claims made by the Minister for Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola that the National Assembly was responsible for the deplorable state of roads in Benue State.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru, debunked the claim in a statement on Sunday.
Fashola was quoted to have made the allegation in his office in Abuja during a courtesy visit by retired Generals and ‘other leaders of thought’ from Benue South Senatorial District led by Air Vice Marshal Morgan, following complaints about the deplorable state of roads in the senatorial district by members of the delegation.
In an effort to put the record straight, the Senate Spokesman, Senator Ajibola Basiru, explained that the National Assembly cannot and should not be held responsible for the deplorable state of roads whether in Benue State or any part of the country.
“The attention of the Senate was recently drawn to disturbing and erroneous claims made by the Minister for Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.
“Much as the upper chamber would not want to engage in any unnecessary altercation with the Minister, it is however necessary to speak up because the issue of roads infrastructure is too important and controversial a matter to be ignored where the National Assembly has been fingered by a serving Minister.
“The records must be set right so that the two arms of government should not be seen as working at cross purposes in the course of delivering good governance to electorates.
“For the 2020 fiscal year, the National Assembly approved the request for 265, 868, 037,093 billion Naira for capital expenditure by the Executive.
“The Executive later brought a revised allocation of 256, 734,983,667 billion Naira which we also appropriated. As we speak, even in the budget proposal for 2021, the Executive proposed a capital expenditure of 363, 266, 425, 976 billion Naira.
“The upper chamber cannot help but wonder where Mr. Fashola got his figure of 600 billion naira which he said was proposed by his ministry and allegedly not approved by the National Assembly.
“The Senate, therefore, invites Nigerians and specifically the Minister’s guests from Benue South Senatorial District to note that figures do not lie.”
The Senate spokesman listed three road constructions which are ongoing in Benue South to include: Oju -Adum Okuku road at N 91,180 000; Oturko Township road at N357 200, 000; and Oju/Loko – Oweto bridge at a cost of N357, 200, 000.
The Senate insisted that Fashola is making effort to incite Nigerians against the it when he alleged that the National Assembly gave priority to constituency projects over other projects.
“On the Minister’s allegation that priority is given to constituency projects over other projects, is an attempt 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 been diverted to constituency projects as the later have specific allocations in the budget,” the Senate spokesman said.