The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved refund of N148billion expended on federal roads by Rivers, Cross River, Ondo, Bayelsa and Osun states.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the third virtual meeting of the FEC, held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mohammed said the approval of the refund followed a memo presented by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.
He said: “You will recall that in 2016, 36 states of the federation sent a very huge bill to the federal government, asking for compensation for money that they have expended on federal roads.
“This prompted Mr President to set up a committee to go and verify the claims of these 36 states, whether indeed these projects were actually constructed, were they completed, in line with the federal government standards.
“At the end of that exercise by an inter-ministerial committee, chaired by the minister of works and housing, but also had Ministers of Education, Transportation, Finance, Minister of State for Works, DG BPP and Permanent Secretary Cabinet Office as members.
“At the end of that exercise, the committee recommended that the federal government should refund N550,364,297.31 billion to 31 of the 36 states, after they were convinced that, yes indeed, the projects were completed and they were federal government roads.
“But the claims of five other states Cross River, Rivers, Ondo, Bayelsa and Osun failed on the grounds that they did not do proper documentation and the committee felt they needed proper documentation.
“So, the committee went back with new terms of reference to ensure that the claims of the five states were in order, that is why the BPP is on the committee.
“So, at the end of the exercise, the committee now reported that the five states – Cross River with 20 roads and one bridge will get a refund of N18,394,737,608.85, Ondo with six roads to get a refund of N7,822,147,577.08, and Osun with two roads and one bridge to get a refund of N2,468,938,876.78.
Mohammed said the committees confirmed the roads and the bridges, that not only were they completed, they were in substantial good form, adding that some of the bridges and roads were built about 10 years ago.
He, however, disclosed that “there is a caveat, as the federal government will pay the states but however, henceforth, if any state takes on federal government road, it will not be paid, they will not get any refund.
“Even if you want to pay from your own pocket, you will still need the permission of the federal government and it will be supervised by the federal ministry of works and housing.”
According to him, the modalities of refund are being worked out and payment will be made over a period of time.