Federal Government opposes Senate’s bid to scrap FERMA.

The Federal Government has opposed the plan by the Senate to scrap the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and replace it with the Federal Roads Authority (FRA). The upper chamber of the National Assembly was wanting to repeal the Act establishing the agency having being sponsored by the chairman of its Committee on Works, Kabiru Gaya (APC Kano South) in October this year.


In moving for its disbandment, the former Kano State governor had alleged lack of capacity, citing the deplorable state of the roads nationwide over the years.


Gaya in his lead debate said FRA would serve as a semi-autonomous road agency responsible for the professional management of federal roads in the country involving planning, design, construction, rehabilitation and maintenance, thereby ending the duplication of functions between FERMA and the Highways Department of the Ministry of Works.


But in puncturing the move yesterday at a public hearing in Abuja, the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, said FERMA was already a brand which should not be changed.

“We welcome the idea of creating roads fund, we also welcome the idea of creating a maintenance agency but we think this will be details of the substance of the presentation that I will make.


“We think that all of the recommendations that have been made for maintenance should be embodied in the agency that government has already created, FERMA.


“Repeal the existing FERMA law, re-enact it and put all of the new things we want to create inside it instead of creating a new agency because FERMA was set up for maintenance in the very first place.


“It has acquired the name, it has acquired the brand, we can build on that brand instead of creating a new one. People who managed brands like this change their drinks but they don’t change their names,” he remarked.


Also yesterday, the chamber expressed displeasure over the failure of the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) to appear before it over the move to repeal a 58-year old Act to allow for its efficiency.


The Hope Uzodinma-led Committee on Customs and Excise was yearning to get the service’s input for the piece of legislation titled, “A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Customs and Excise Management Act Bill 2016.”

NURTW Tells Members to Obey Traffic Rules, Regulations

The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Gombe State Chapter, has urged its members to always obey traffic rules and regulations in order to reduce road accidents.

The state chairman of the union, Alhaji Ibrahim Bala, made this call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Friday.

“They should always follow traffic rules and regulations so as to reduce road crashes, protect lives and property, more especially as the festive season approaches,” he said.

He said that the union had earlier made efforts by sensitising members of the branch offices on the need for them to always obey traffic rules and regulations.

“We have discussed with the branch chairmen, their secretaries and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on the way forward to make sure that we do not record more accidents this season,” he said.

He lauded the FRSC officials and Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO) for their tireless efforts in sensitising the members of the union to ensure safe driving.

Bala also lauded the Federal Government for rehabilitating roads across the country.

He said that the rehabilitation of roads would help to reduce road crashes to the barest minimum not only in the state but the country in general.

FG to Pay States On Rehabilitated Roads – Fashola

The Federal Government is set to pay states that have used their resources to rehabilitate federal roads in their areas.

Speaking Thursday in Katsina State, Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, said President Muhammadu Buhari has assured to pay the debt.

Fashola, who was speaking at the 22nd meeting of National Council of Works, said a committee was set up under his leadership and recommendations have been made to the government on the matter. He said the ministry inherited roads liability of N2 trillion, but that only a budget of N18 billion was made last year for road projects.

He, however, said the current government improved upon it and budgeted N226 billion this year for road projects, and that N73 billion has been paid between June and July in liabilities.

The minister said some petrol tanker drivers were in the habit of overloading products, saying some of them were ferrying 60,000 litres of petrol instead of the lawful 33,000 litres.

He said their actions were detrimental to the lifespan of the roads, even as he warned petrol tankers to desist from such illegal activities or face the consequences.

Fashola said roads that help access mining areas, evacuate fuel, cargoes at sea, and roads that allow for heavier traffic would be given priority in road projects to be executed in the country.

He, however, said that the 45.7 meters right- of-way would be enforced, while the ministry is to carry out intervention on roads across the states of the federation on a yearly basis.

He said Federal Controllers of Roads at the states would henceforth be held accountable for the quality of roads in their various states.

He called on them to liaise with stakeholders including traditional rulers and government, to achieve the objective of quality federal roads at the states level.

He said contractors handling road projects would henceforth not be paid by the government till they are confirmed to have insurance cover for their workers.

Governor Aminu Bello Masari, on his part, lamented problem of overloading of vehicles on the nation’s highways, with the call on relevant agencies to check the menace.

He said several crimes committed in the state and elsewhere were often by motorcycle owners, and that such was another issue that needed be addressed.