By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
Speaker of Federal House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has said it will not be difficult to cede federal roads to the states given the present constitution arrangement in the country.
Gbajabiamila said unless the enabling laws were addressed, it would be legally impossible to transfer Federal roads to states for now.
The Speaker explained the federal roads in each state of the federation remained the exclusive properties of the federal government.
Speaking in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, shortly after meeting with Governor Dapo Abiodun, the speaker said it would require the amendment of the Privatization Act in order to achieve the transfer of federal roads to states.
He suggested that models could be worked out for fixing of the federal roads by states and later get reimbursed by the federal government.
Fielding questions from reporters regarding the conditions of federal roads in Ogun state and whether the Federal Government would be willing to hand them over to the state, he said “it is legally impossible for the Federal Government to transfer roads to any state.”
He, however, admitted that Ogun state being an industrial state ought not to have some deplorable roads, urging the federal government to fix them.
“Ogun is an industrial state so to speak, and if you have several companies that are developing the state, and Nigeria situated in places where they are not passable, it makes that environment very difficult for them to work.
“So, those observations were received. It is for us to look at whether it is even possible legally for the Federal Government to transfer federal roads to any states, that I’m not sure how feasible that is.
“But there is more than one way to skin a cat. So even where that is not feasible, it might even require the amendment of the Privatisation Act. It’s the Federal Government assets.
“But if that is not feasible, there are other models that we can look at in terms of other people fixing the roads and then the Federal Government owing them or setting off whatever debts owed by the state, so either way, something definitely needs to be done about those roads,” he said.
On why he came to visit the governor, the Speaker said, “the governor of the state has been a close person of mine for decades and I haven’t seen him since his inauguration, because of my workload, as well as his.
“With this Sallah break, I just thought to stop by, to see him, encourage him because of all the things I have heard and some of the things that I have seen in terms of his giant strides in the last one year.
“We had a fruitful deliberation on ways the Federal Government and Ogun State can collaborate towards the advancement of the state.”