By Prince Okafor
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has disclosed that, the delay in relocating underground oil and gas pipelines within Mile2/Badagry expressway was responsible for the slow pace of work by the Chinese contractor.
The minister said that there were ongoing mass housing projects across 33 States of the Federation, which will be ready soon.
Speaking during an interface with members of the Civil Society on the activities of his ministry in the last two years, Fashola stated that the Mile2/Badagry road was sectional.
Said he: “The section from Mile 2 to Okoko-maiko is under contract with the Chinese by the Lagos State government, it started before I left the office as the Governor of Lagos State. If it’s beyond that section, then it’s our responsibility, but if it’s within that section, then it’s Lagos state responsibility.
“Part of the problem in that section was that there are oil and gas pipelines in some sections of the road which were buried underground, and need to be relocated so that work can continue. I don’t have current information on how the process of relocation has progressed.
Fashola also stated that the government was ready to enforce the law against road utilization, adding: “Federal Roads Maintena-nce Agency, FERMA, State controller and Road Safety are the only legal operators of the road, anybody found trespassing will be arrested and fined heavily.”
On the power sector, Fashola noted that, “Zugeru power plant is making progress, contrac-tors are on site, and the Azura power project is also making progress that should finish in June 2018. Zugeru might spill into quarter one of 2019, but they are on site, which is different from Azura that didn’t start at all until the present administration came on board.
On the national housing project, the minister also said: “It’s ongoing in 33 States of the country, and from time to time the Ministers of State, for Power, Works and Housing and myself, do spot checks on the progress that are being made there.
“In some places, we are roofing, in some we are painting, in some other places, we just came out of foundation work, while in some places, site clearance was just going on.
“It’s a pilot scheme which we want to use to test whether Nigerians will accept the designs as a national design, then we will see if Nigerians can afford it.
“There are a lot of empty houses in the country that people don’t like and can’t afford, we are at the beginning stage of a project, and those in the market can tell you, that if you don’t get the sampling right, the product can fall,” Fashola added.
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