The Senate on Sunday denied a statement credited to Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola that the National Assembly should be held responsible for the poor conditions of Federal roads in Benue State.
Fashola was quoted to have made the claim when retired Generals and ‘other leaders of thought’ from Benue South Senatorial District visited him in Abuja.
He was said to have alleged that N600billion proposed for capital expenditure was not approved by the National Assembly.
The group led by Air Vice Marshal Morgan Monday (rtd.) had reportedly complained about the deplorable state of roads in the senatorial district.
However, in a statement by Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru, the Upper Chamber described the allegation as a “fallacy of the highest order.”
Basiru insisted the National Assembly cannot and should not be held responsible for the deplorable state of roads whether in Benue or in any other part of the country.
He said even though the Senate would not want to join issues with the Minister over the claim, it decided to publicly debunk the allegations because the issue of road infrastructure is important and controversial.
He added it was necessary to put the records straight so as to disabuse the minds of the undiscerning members of the public about the acts of the National Assembly.
“The records needed to be set right so that the two arms of government should not be seen as working at cross purposes in the course of delivering dividends and good governance to electorates,” he said.
According to him the 2020 capital expenditure proposed by the executive and passed by the National was N265 billion.
He said that the Executive later brought a revised capital budget of N256 billion, which was also approved by the National Assembly.
He said in the 2021 Appropriation Bill being considered by the National Assembly, the Executive proposed a capital expenditure of N363billion.
He then wondered where the Minister of Works Housing got his figure of N600 billion which he claimed was the figure proposed but was allegedly not approved by the National Assembly.
He, therefore, called on Nigerians especially the Minister’s guests from Benue South Senatorial District to note that “figures do not lie.”
He listed three ongoing road construction in the Benue South Senatorial District to include Oju-Adum Okuku road at N91,180 000, Otukpo Township road at N357,200,000 and Oju/Loko-Oweto bridge at a cost of N357, 200, 000.
On the Minister’s allegation, the National Assembly prioritised constituency projects over others, the Senate spokesperson said that the Minister was merely calling a pity party and being sentimental.
He added that the statement was made to set the lawmakers on a collision course with the electorate.
“It should be emphasized therefore that never has allocations specifically meant for other projects ever been diverted to constituency projects as constituency projects have their allocations in the budget,” he said.
He said that the execution of all constituency projects is statutory carried out by the Executive through its various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).