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Why Nigeria Won’t Have Good Roads – Reps Leader

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The Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Toby Okechukwu, has stated it will be difficult for Nigeria to have good roads across the country until the President Muhammadu Buhari assent to the road fund and road authority bills passed by the National Assembly.

Okechukwu, however, decried that the two bills had not been signed into law.

The lawmaker made this known at his office in Abuja on Wednesday when the President of the Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, Rabiu Ali, led a delegation of the professional body to notify him of the conferment of a honorary fellowship of the Nigerian Society of Engineers on him.

Okechukwu appealed to Buhari and all concerned Nigerians to give attention to the bills.

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He said, “I am happy that the NSE placed me at the top of their professional calling and reward system. On a serious note, engineering criss-crosses our lives. It controls 90 per cent of our lives. If we neglect or ignore engineering, we do so at our peril. When we came in as Committee of Works, we were able to diagnose the challenges in the industry, capacity, personal issues and how the profession is practiced. That was how we came up with the idea of amending the COREN Act. We also diagnosed funding issues regarding roads construction, maintenance and we came up with Roads Fund Bill. We also dealt with the issue of organisational structure of that outfit that will maintain and develop roads. We also came up with the idea of Roads Authority Bill.

“Those bills passed all through the platforms of the National Assembly – in the House and the Senate. It was passed to Mr President. Unfortunately, we were not on the same page or they (presidency) could not be up to speed regarding approving it. Luckily, COREN bill passed and it is now an Act of the Parliament, and I am happy that you are here to follow it up. So, it is our prayer that the Roads Fund Bill and Roads Authority Bill should be paid attention to.

“The other day I was listening to the Minister (of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola) and he said they had over N10tn liability and N765bn outstanding certificates. There is no way you can develop growth in this country without dealing with the issue of reforms in the system, and those Acts were meant to cure that. So, I am really happy that at least one is down; then, the other two to go. We must follow up the activism and the pressure from the press has to be momentous. Anybody who tells you that road construction in this country can get any golden era without those roads reform bills passed into law or without Mr. President signing it is joking.”