Release funds to FERMA, Senate tells finance ministry

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The Senate has urged the Federal Ministry of Finance to, as a matter of urgency, release adequate funds to the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) for the purpose of carrying out emergency repairs on all federal roads in the country.

This was even as the chamber called on the federal government to immediately declare a state of emergency on federal roads and improve its funding.

These formed part of resolutions reached by the chamber following a motion considered during plenary Tuesday.

Sponsored by Senator Gershom Bassey it is titled: “Motion on Nigeria’s Bad Roads and NUPENG’s Impending Nationwide Strike.”

Coming under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Orders, Bassey noted that the 36,000 km federal road network is the largest and most valuable single public infrastructure asset owned by the government of Nigeria.

The lawmaker stated that, “The deplorable state of the federal roads in Nigeria have become a national shame and an unnecessary embarrassment as scores of innocent people are kidnapped by bandits, robbed, mutilated and killed daily in avoidable accidents on account of bad federal roads.”

He lamented that the Petroleum Tanker Drivers branch of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) workers have threatened to cripple the Nigerian economy by a nationwide strike if the bad and shameful roads are not rehabilitated.

The lawmaker recalled that in 2019, he made a similar call through a motion for increased funding for maintenance and rehabilitation of the country’s federal highways.

He expressed worry that despite several calls, there has not been improved funding for maintenance and rehabilitation of highways.

Bassey added that the federal highways in Nigeria requires the sum of about N215 billion per annum to revamp 3,500km of federal roads for 8-10 years for total rehabilitation to be achieved.

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