By Bankole Wright
The federal government has approved for the Lagos State government to commence a reconstruction of the road connecting the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos to Oshodi.
A statement by Secretary to the State Government, Tunji Bello, said that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode announced this on Wednesday.
“We are very appreciative of the good gesture of the Acting President for acceding to our request, which is not only very timely but a very heartwarming one. Posterity will never forget this genuine developmental action,” Ambode said in the statement.
Ambode appraised the development adding that it was like a 50th birthday gift to Lagos state, showing that the administration was indeed ready to ensure ease of businesses in the country.
The governor had in March, alleged that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Works, was frustrating the state’s effort to reconstruct the road.
Ambode had said, as published by The Nation, “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 everything as I said, has been completed and we already have the cash, but alas! 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.
“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 and we would not be part of it. We would like to do it as part of the celebration of Lagos at 50,” Governor Ambode had said then.
The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing replied, “The Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing Ministry has presented the Memorandum conveying the request of the Lagos State Government to the Federal Executive Council as was done with a similar request by the Kaduna State Government in 2016.
“Due to the fact that two of the roads also connect Ogun State, the FEC could not reach an immediate decision on them because it requested the input of the other state government affected.”
“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 urbanization 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 the 2017 budget so that the House of Assembly should approve the total reconstruction of the road from Oshodi to the international airport,” the governor said in March.
Ambode had said if, given the approval, his administration was ready to immediately begin reconstruction of the road within two weeks and complete the project within a six-month period.
The governor also urged the federal government to avail the state of the N2 billion appropriated for the airport road in the 2017 National Budget to carry out the project.