HOUSE of Representatives Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA, yesterday blasted the agency over the deplorable condition of federal roads across the country. Chairman of the committee, Hon Jerry Alagbaoso lamented the poor road networks cut across the six geopolitical zones, stressing that as a committee that supervises the agency, it would assist FERMA to ensure that all the dilapidated federal roads get facelift. Alagbaoso disclosed this at a two-day investigative hearing on the unilateral, arbitrary and unauthorised creation of positions of executive directors in FERMA and other operational activities of the agency from September 2015 till date. He expressed disappointment on the activities of the agency, stressing that the committee would not allow FERMA to take it for granted. The committee chairman therefore directed the acting managing director of the agency to ensure that all federal roads were put in good shape with the funds they approved for the agency. He also ordered the acting MD to regularise the appointments made illegally or face the full wrath of the law. A committee member, Hon Tajudeen Yusuf wondered why the agency could not embark on any road maintenance despite having N10billion and sought to know who ordered the agency not to spend the money on federal roads. Other members of the committee pointed out that they were always disappointed each time officials of the agency appeared before them. They said they were not happy with the activities of the agency considering that virtually all federal roads were in a terrible state, adding that they must account for tax payers’ money. In his submission, the FERMA acting MD, Engr Peter Ibu told the committee that the agency had not done so much because it had been having challenges with fund releases. He explained that in the Procurement Act, they could not award contracts without cash backing. Engr Ibu, however, admitted that N10billion was approved for the agency in the second week of October, but it was not cash-backed. He also revealed that in the month of March, only N3million was released to the agency for the maintenance of all federal roads in the states.

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