FG to concession Benin – Asaba, Abuja – Lokoja, Kaduna – Kano highways, others

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Edozie Udeojo,Abuja

The federal government is determined to outsource repair and maintenance of certain Federal highways, Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola, dropped the hint on Wednesday at the National Assembly Joint Committee on Works.

The concession arrangement which he called, “Highway Development and Management Initiative,” will involve the federal government and private investors which would carry out the development and management of 10 federal highways in the first phase.

According to the Minister of Works, the roads listed for the first phase which he noted could attract N163bn investment included, Benin – Asaba, Abuja – Lokoja, Kaduna – Kano, Onitsha – Owerri – Aba, Shagamu -Benin, Abuja -Keffi – Akwanga, Kano – Maiduguri, Lokoja – Benin, Enugu -Port Harcourt, Ilorin – Jebba.

Fashola who declared that the federal government bought into the initiative in the face of dwindling revenue available to it and a dearth of public funds for road maintenance further hinted that each of the ten roads listed in the first phase would gulp N16billion.

He, however, painted a rosy picture of the gains of the Value Added Concession to include, creation of about 23, 322 jobs in the first phase, provision of streetlights, toll plazas, rest areas, and weighbridge stations.

He said after the first phase, another ten routes would be identified for the second phase.

“The Value Added Concession through the construction of rest areas will reduce fatigue on the highways thereby causing a reduction in accidents as the routes will be better managed and maintained.

“Through the Value Added Concession, there will be job creation in communities that fall along the route which will bring about an increase in rural development.

“Improvement on weighbridge stations will reduce the incidence of roads having to bear loads above their design weight. This will improve the lifespan of the road pavement.”

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Asked about the competence of the prospective investors, the Minister assured that his Ministry would carry out due diligence on the applicants for a thorough evaluation of their technical and financial competence.

Individual members of the joint National Assembly Committee on Works commended Honourable Fashola initiative which they described as laudable as they noted that it would enhance development, provide security and jobs for young Nigerians.

Obaseki and Oshiomhole,

Alleged corruption: Court extends order stopping Obaseki from arresting Oshiomhole

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, extended the interim order barring Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State from arresting Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the suspended National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), over his alleged indictment by a panel of inquiry.

The trial judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed ordered all parties in the matter to stay action till June 29, 2020, when the court will hear a motion challenging its jurisdiction to entertain the application filed by Oshiomhole for the protection of his fundamental human rights.

Joined with Governor Obaseki as respondents are the Edo State government, the Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice of Edo State, chairman of the panel of inquiry, Justice J. Oyomire, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Department of State Service (DSS).

The court had, in a ruling on June 1, restrained both Governor Obaseki and the other respondents from taking steps to arrest Oshiomhole who is a former governor of the state, over the report of the Justice Oyomire-panel that indicted him for corruption and diversion of public funds.

Justice Mohammed directed the parties to maintain the status quo, pending the determination of the issue of jurisdiction.

The interim order followed an ex-parte application by Oshiomhole wherein he had prayed the court to stop his arrest and. prosecution on account of a White Paper that was issued against him by the panel of inquiry the Edo State government constituted to probe him.

Meanwhile, when the matter came up on Wednesday, Oshiomhole’s counsel, Mr Ehioge West-Idahosa, notified the court that he filed a counter-affidavit to dismiss the preliminary objection the respondents raised against the suit and that the said counter-affidavit has been served on all the respondents, except the sixth respondent.

Counsel to the first to fourth respondents, Mr Kingsley Idahosa, confirmed that the processes were served on him before the court proceedings commenced on Wednesday and prayed the court for time to study the counter-affidavit with a view to identifying areas that would require his clients to respond.

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