Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Lagos state, has described the road linking Oshodi to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport as a “national embarrassment”, accusing the ministry of works, power and housing of frustrating efforts of his administration to reconstruct the road.
Babatunde Fashola, former governor of Lagos, is the one in charge of the ministry.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Ambode said despite having the funds to repair the road, the ministry of power, works and housing has insisted on repairing it.
“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 the 2017 budget that the house of assembly should approve the total reconstruction of the airport road from Oshodi,” Ambode said.
“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 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.”
He lamented that despite the fact that the federal government was indebted to the state to the tune of N51 billion, the state government’s effort to immediately transform the airport road to world class standard was being frustrated.
Ambode said if given the approval, his administration was ready to hit the ground running and begin construction of the airport road within two weeks and finish same within a period of six months.
He also implored the federal government to avail the state of the N2bn which it appropriated for the airport road in the 2017 budget.
“I just want to remind Lagosians that prior to my becoming governor, the ministry of works has been owing Lagos state a total of N51bn as reimbursement for reconstruction that was carried out by the state government on federal roads in the state,” he said.
“So, obviously, what we are asking for is that whatever it is that we are asking for, it can never be up to the N51bn that they are owing us.
He also revealed that six months after President Muhammadu Buhari approved the handover of the presidential lodge to Lagos, the state government has not been given access to the place.
“One of the key venues that we need to celebrate the real essence of Lagos, the historic place that we refer to as presidential lodge is still more or less being tossed about in terms of being handed over to us,” he said.
“We believe strongly that by May 27, 2017, we should be able to invite Mr President and other people who have actually made Lagos what is it today to that presidential lodge for the final banquet and dinner to mark Lagos at 50.
“As we speak, we are yet gain entrance into that place and this is frustrating our programme. So, I want to use this medium to appeal and say that the approval of Mr President should be rightly honoured and the agencies concerned, that is the federal ministry of works and housing and the security services should honour that promise by Mr President.
“We just believe strongly that we must proceed to gain access into that place so that we can roll out our programmes for Lagos at 50.”