Abuja — THE Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said yesterday that the Federal Government has so far reimbursed state governments about N447 billion for expenses incurred on construction and rehabilitation of federal roads and bridges.
Mohammed, who disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the release was the first tranche of such reimbursement.
The minister announced that following the money already released to the affected states, the council in yesterday’s sitting approved N18 billion refund for Yobe State out of the N20 billion bill it submitted.
Mohammed gave a breakdown of the amounts of such reimbursement by some of the states, stressing that the reimbursement was for projects implemented before the coming of the present administration.
He said: “I think it’s important to say that, well it’s true that we’re just reporting this particular memo, which is the refund being sought by Yobe State government; Yobe State government is asking for the sum of N18,663,843,109 as reimbursement for five federal roads, which they rehabilitated or constructed.
“A committee was set up to inspect the claim, they were actually found to be true. They reviewed the N20 billion they asked for and certified N18 billion as refund due to Yobe State for undertaking the construction/rehabilitation of these federal roads on behalf of federal government.
“But this is not the first time. We have since 2015, made refunds to about 24 states. If my records are correct and I want to put on record here that but for the benevolence of this administration, many states would have sunk under.
“The first tranche of these reimbursements about N477 billion was refunded to many states: Edo got N8 billion; Lagos got N106 billion; Niger, N333 million; Ogun, N37 billion; Delta N56 billion; Ebonyi, N10 billion; Enugu N12 billion; Jigawa, N10 billion; Ekiti, N10 billion and this was the first tranche.
“Second tranche and the last tranche, I think if I remember, I think it’s Yobe and two other states that are supposed to be the next batch.”