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FG will complete reconstruction of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road – Fashola

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By Dada Jackson

 

Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has expressed the determination of the Federal Government to complete the ongoing reconstruction of the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway.

He stated this at a town hall meeting of stakeholders organised by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing held at the Kaduna State University Conference hall, Kaduna

Fashola said, “Mr President is more passionate and concerned about finishing this road and many others before his constitutional term ends.”

He also said the objective of the town hall meeting was to expose the realities and explain the challenges involved in the construction of the road.

Responding to questions from stakeholders who wanted to know why the construction work on the road was taking too long, the minister explained that one of the reasons why work could not commence early on the road was as a result of the request made by the some members of the National Assembly to expand the road from two lanes to three.

He said, “Shortly after we flagged off the road, we received a letter from the senators in the National Assembly asking the Federal Government to expand the road from two lanes to three lanes; that was not from; it was from the National Assembly, the Senators. And they wrote to the President and copied my ministry.

Fashola also stated that based on the directive from the presidency to undertake that expansion, “we needed to redesign an expansion to accommodate about 40 different bridges on this road to align with the lanes.

“So, if they are going to expand from two to three lanes, a new design needed to be created. The process for doing that required us to hire a design consultant. We had to follow the procurement process established by the National Assembly,” he said.

Accordingly, he said the procurement process was a long one, which entails advertising; waiting for a period of six weeks after advertisement; reviewing of tender; picking of consultant and going to the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) and finally to the Federal Executive Council for approval to hire a consultant to do the design requested.

The minister also disclosed that after going through all the processes of procurement for redesigning to three lanes, the ministry received another instruction to revert to two lanes due to paucity of funds.

Fashola attributed the delay in completion to the total length of the road and the process of construction.

He said, “Each lane is 375km. So if you multiply that by four, we are building a thousand and five hundred kilometres of highway. No matter how hard you tried to work, if there were 25 hours in one day to do this work, we will commit to it, but the truth is that materials take time to react, minimum and maximum processes must be observed.”

Responding to a question on the Kaduna-Western By-pass, the minister explained that the Kaduna State Government initially requested it to be transferred to the state and the request was granted, but later due to the inability of the state to raise the financing for it, the commencement of the work was stalled.

He added that a recommendation to put the project under the Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme was later considered and approved.

He said, “As far as the Western By-pass is concerned, let me also say that it is on record, Kaduna State was the first state to apply for the transfer of federal road to them; that I recommended to the Federal Executive Council and the council approved and I transferred it to the state governor in his first term. It was after the unsuccessful attempt by the Kaduna State government to raise financing that we recommended that it be put under the Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme.”

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs  Zainab Ahmed, stated that her ministry would collaborate with the Ministry of Works and Housing and Messrs Julius Berger to expeditiously work on the reconstruction of the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway in order to ensure completion before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

She explained that the issue of funding had been addressed because the Ministry of Finance had given $650 to the National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) whose responsibility was to generate additional funds to ensure that the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway and other designated projects are fully funded.

Leader of the delegation and Chief of Staff to President Muhammad Buhari, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, assured the people that President Muhammad Buhari’s commitment was real and realizable before the end of his tenure.

The Managing Director of Messrs. Julius Berger who also made presentation at the town hall meeting, revealed that the company had introduced a new innovative cold recycling method of constructing roads in Nigeria, which he said was being used for the first time in Nigerian for the reconstruction of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road.

He listed the benefits of cold recycling as achieving shorter construction time, conservation of resources, cost effectiveness, enhancing road safety and impacting positively on the environment.

He stated that the scope of work on the roads had been divided into three sections, with section one covering Abuja to Kaduna road, with 165.5km;  second section, Kaduna to Zaria with 73.4km and the third section, Zaria to Kano with 137.0km .

In attendance at the town hall meeting were the Governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje; the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Dr Hadiza Balarabe who represented her governor, representatives of the Niger State Governor, Commissioner for Works and Housing and that of the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Shehu Hadiza Ahmed.

Other stakeholders at the meeting were legislators from both the national and state assemblies from the concerned states, representatives of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), community and traditional institutions.

 

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LASG stakeholders review Osborne Foreshore Residential Scheme 11 approval order

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By Dada Jackson

It was a case of disagreeing to agree as Lagos State Government and stakeholders of Osborne Foreshore Residential Scheme II eventually came to terms on the review of the approval order of the porch estate after much deliberations in which they agreed to allow the process to continue.

Speaking at the Stakeholders’ Meeting/ Presentation on the Review of the Approval Order for Osborne Foreshore Residential Scheme II at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Secretariat, Alausa, the  Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Idris Salako, said that residents of Osborne Foreshore II, conceived as a low-density residential scheme, had clamoured for the  review by approaching the Ministry to decrease the permissible height among other changes to the previous approval order.

He said, “Consequently, several discussions were held with their Representatives, which culminated in the meeting with Mr. Governor and ultimately the ongoing review.”

Salako noted that the crave for the review of the extant approval order was not unconnected with the observed disparities in the Approval Order of Osborne Foreshore II and that of Banana Island, Ikoyi Southeast and Ikoyi Southwest, despite being of similar status and character.

He pointed out that the need for the review of the Operational Development Plan could not be overemphasized as it would afford timely bridging of identified gaps and inadequacies such as omissions or commissions, in order to make the Plan more comprehensive and effective.

His words: “In essence, Plan Review is a conscious intervention to make an operational Developmental Plan more effective for the Plan Area to be more functional as best possible”.

The Commissioner emphasised that the Ministry was statutorily empowered to prepare Development Plans for different areas as well as provide Approval Orders that were more specific on the intended use, density and operation of the identifiable segments of an area.

He said, “In like manner, the ministry is also statutorily charged to review the existing Development Plans which have been adjudged to be outdated or no longer relevant to achieving the stated goals. Indeed, this is one of the powers of the Hon. Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development as stated in Section 5(1) (a & c) and Section 6 (1) of the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law 2019 (as amended), which allows for the review/amendment of Development Plans every five (5) years.”

Salako reiterated that the ministry as a government formation was charged with the mandate for sustainability of the physical environment, while the power of development control was vested in the state government and not in any other entity such as the residents association.

“It is therefore noteworthy that the Operative Development Plans are sacrosanct and that the use of any space within the plan area can only be altered through due process of an official review,  contrary to which a change in use becomes illegal. There are provisions in the law for sanctioning of erring development/developers,” he said.

Stating that the government had the obligation to ensure that every part of the state was committed to appropriate use, in order to achieve common social good, economic viability and environmental sustainability, Salako said that the Operative Development Plans had been prepared with due cognizance of the socioeconomic dynamics and the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law 2019 as amended.

Residents of the estate include the Chairman of the Board of Trustee of the Residents Association, Sir Steve Omojafor, and a seasoned public relations practitioner, Mr Kola Ayanwale, expressed confidence in the ability of the state government to come up with a plan that would be fair to all sides, while urging developers and investors in the estate to balance economics with the environment.

The Chairperson, Osborne Foreshore Residents Association, Chinwe Ezenwa, enjoined the government to consider leaving the estate as low- density to forestall slumming, while others who were mainly developers expressed preference for increasing hieght and density of the estate.

Other notable figures at the meeting include the Chairman, House Committee on Physical Planning and Urban Development, Hon. Nureni Akinsanya, Member of Lagos House of Assembly representing the area, Hon. Gbolahan Yishau, Former Deputy Governor of Kogi State,   Arc. Yomi Awoniyi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Abiola Kosegbe, and Deputy Director, Urban and Regional Planning, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mrs Catherine Ozonde.

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Lagos moves against illegal building conversion in govt schemes

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By Dada Jackson

The Lagos State Government has restated its commitment to restoring government residential schemes in the state to their original plans as it communicates its intention to commence a week-long monitoring and enforcement in Lekki Peninsula Scheme 1 and Magodo Residential Scheme I and II.

It says it will focus on those who have indiscriminately converted their buildings from residential to commercial.

The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Idris Salako, who dropped the hint in his office at Alausa, stated that government schemes ought to remain residential with provision for services as planned but the schemes had been bastardised by indiscriminate conversion of buildings from residential to commercial by some of the residents.

He added that if the pervasive lawlessness in these estates was allowed to go on, the future would spell doom for the carefully designed upper-income residential schemes.

Salako noted that well-meaning residents had inundated the state government with complaints and sought  a redress of the untoward situation.

The commissioner recalled that the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development had engaged and dialogue with residents of the estates severally with a view to righting the wrongs.

“It is noteworthy that engagements with Magodo Phases I and II Residents Association produced the Revised Magodo Scheme I and II which has since become effective”, he said.

He emphasised that indiscriminate conversion of government schemes from residential  to commercial would not be tolerated in Lagos State and urged those liable of any unlawful conversion to brace for the ministry’s enforcement activities.

“Our monitoring and enforcement team will be visiting all other government schemes for similar action in due course. I hereby urge that every part of the state should take a cue from this by desisting from undue conversion of properties without approval of the appropriate authorities,” he said.

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LASG denies violation of planning laws in Osborne Foreshore/Magodo estate

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By Dada Jackson

The Lagos State Government has denied a social media allegation that it is condoning the violation of physical planning laws by some developers in both the Osborne Foreshore Phase II and Peace Valley Estate, Magodo.

The Lagos State Government’s position is contained in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Idris Salako, in Alausa.

One Mr Yacoob Abiodun, who claimed to be an urban planner/planning advocate, had taken to the social media alleging that residents of Osborne Foreshore Phase II and Peace Valley Zone, Magodo, were unhappy with the activities of some developers “whose developments on the two estates violate the extant Operative Development Plans and the Approval Order for the localities.”

While expressing his displeasure at the twist of facts by the writer, the Physical Planning Commissioner said that it was important to correct the misinformation to disabuse the minds of Lagosians.

Salako said contrary to the insinuations, the residents of Osborne Foreshore Phase II had  influenced the increase in height of the area from the original 4/5 to 10  floors, while Phase I still remained 4/5 floors.

He explained that the review of the Approval Order for Osborne Foreshore was precipitated by the continuous agitation of the residents as original allottees had brought about increase in the height and density of the estate.

He added that the government only came in to ensure a proper review for the benefit of all concerned.

Dismissing the allegation of noninvolvement of residents in the review, he stated that the ongoing review process was borne out of several consultations and engagements with the resident associations in line with the extant regulations guiding development planning in the state.

The commissioner added that the review could not have been more inclusive, having met with residents of the estate for more than 10 times, the outcome of which was the ministry’s encouragement of the residents association to engage a consultant, Messrs MOA Planners to prepare a revised plan along with the review sent by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.

The revised plan would still be subjected to stakeholders’ engagement before final approval, he stated.

“It is therefore disheartening that despite repeated dialogue, the latest of which was held with the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, three weeks ago, the best that the Osborne-Foreshore Residents Association Phase II (OSFRA) could do was to resort to the social media to intimidate and embarrass the Lagos State Government,” Salako said.

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