Lagos State yesterday accused the Federal Government of frustrating its plan to rebuild the Oshodi – Murtala Muhammed Airport road.
Besides, six months after President Muhammadu Buhari directed that the Presidential Lodge in Marina should be ceded to the state, it is yet to take over the edifice, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said.
The governor spoke after inspecting projects which he plans to inaugurate as part of the Lagos at 50 celebration and the second anniversary of his administration.
Lagos State was created on May 27, 1967. Ambode mounted the saddle on May 29, 2015.
Speaking to reporters at the Lagos House, he described the Airport Road as “a national embarrassment”.
He said although his administration had come up with a design for the reconstruction of the road and the funds for the project, the Federal Ministry of Works failed to give it the green light.
He said: “The road linking Oshodi to the International Airport, you would all agree with me, is a national embarrassment.
In the spirit of the regeneration and urbanisation that this administration has set out to achieve, we believe strongly that the image that is exhumed by the decadence of that road must be repaired and we took it upon ourselves to appropriate in the 2017 budget that the House of Assembly should approve the total reconstruction of the Airport Road from Oshodi to the International Airport.
“The State currently has a design of 10 lanes to come from Oshodi to the International Airport with interchange and flyover that would drop you towards the Local Airport.
The contractor is already set to go and we already have the cash, but we are having challenges with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. This is a Federal and not a state road. The Federal Ministry of Works believes that they should do the road, but they have not been able to do it all these years past.”
Ambode said the Federal Government was owing the state N51billion, spent on repairing federal roads over the years. In spite of this, the state is ready to fix the Airport road.
Ambode said if given the approval, his administration was ready to begin the construction within two weeks and finish it within six months.
He urged the Federal Government to avail the state of the N2billion appropriated for the Airport Road in the 2017 National Budget to carry out the project as addition to what the state would spend on it.
“I just want to appeal to the Federal Ministry of Works, to let go or reimburse us with whatever it is that they are owing us and even if they are not willing to pay us now, we have the money to do it. It is a national disgrace. We would like to do it as part of the celebration of Lagos at 50,” Ambode said.
The spokesman of Mr. Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Power Works and Housing, Mr. Hakeem Bello, said last night that he would consult and get back to The Nation, but his reaction did not come until the newspaper went to bed.
On the Presidential Lodge, Ambode said: “As we speak, we are yet gain entrance into that place. It’s frustrating our programme. So, I want to use this medium to appeal and say that the approval of Mr. President should be rightly honoured and the agencies concerned, that is the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and the Security Services, should honour that promise by Mr. President.”
The Ojodu Berger regeneration project, the Abule Egba Flyover Project and the Aboru Abesan Link Road are to be inaugurated as part of the state’s golden Jubilee celebrations.
Ambode said compensation had been paid to owners of properties that had to give way for the Oshodi and Ojodu Berger regeneration projects. Property owners at Abule Egba are also to get their’s within the next four weeks, he added.