FG approves refund of N148bn to Rivers,four other States

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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the refund of a total of N148,141,987,161.25 to five states being funds spent by the states on federal road projects.

Disclosing this to State House Correspondents after the virtual FEC meeting on Wednesday, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the memo for the refund was presented by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fasola.

According to Alhaji Mohammed, the virtual FEC, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, considered claims of the five beneficiary states in the approved memo. They were Cross River, Ondo, Osun, Bayelsa and Rivers.

A breakdown of the refunds, per state, were as follow: Cross River N18,394,737,608.85; Ondo N7,822,147,577.08; Osun N2,468,938,876.78; Bayelsa N38,040,564,783.40 and Rivers N78,953,067,518.29.

He, however, noted that the Council had warned that there would be no more of such refunds in future should any state government venture into projects without the nod of the federal government.

“You will recall that in 2016, 36 states of the federation sent a very huge bill to the federal government, asking for compensation for money that they have expended on federal roads.

“This prompted Mr. President to set up a committee to go and verify the claims of these 36 states, whether indeed these projects were actually constructed, were they completed, in line with the federal government standards.

“At the end of that exercise by an inter-ministerial committee, chaired by the Honorable Minister of Works and Housing, but also had ministers of Education, Transportation, Finance, Minister of State for Works, DG, BPP and Permanent Secretary of the Cabinet Office as members.

“At the end of that exercise, the committee recommended that the federal government should refund N550,364,297.31 billion to 31 of the 36 states, after they were convinced that, yes indeed, the projects were completed and there were federal government roads. But the claims of five other states Cross River, Rivers, Ondo, Bayelsa and Osun failed on the grounds that they did not do proper documentation and the committee felt they needed proper documentation.

“So the committee went back with a new terms of reference to ensure that the claims of the five states were in order, that is why the BPP is on the committee. So at the end of the exercise, the committee now reported that the five states – Cross River with 20 roads and one bridge will get a refund of N18,394,737,608.85, Ondo with six roads to get a refund of N7,822,147,577.08, and Osun with two roads and one bridge to get a refund of N2,468,938,876.78.

“Others are Bayelsa with five roads and one bridge is to get a refund of N38,040,564,783.40 and Rivers with three roads and three flyovers bridges is to get a refund of N78,953,067,518.29.”

Mohammed said the committees confirmed the roads and the bridges, that not only were they completed, they are in substantial good form, adding that some of the bridges and roads were built about 10 years ago.

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