Senator Karimi Lobbies Umahi to Fix Kabba-Egbe-Ilorin Road

Sunday Karimi Kogi

Senator Sunday Karimi, representing Kogi West, met with the Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, as lobbying intensified in an effort to fix the deplorable Kabba-Egbe-Ilorin federal road.

In a statement issued by one of his media people and made available to Tribune Online in Lokoja on Wednesday, the meeting also had in attendance a key player in the manufacturing sector, reportedly centred on finding lasting solutions to the road.

The Senator also met withrepresentatives of the subsisting contractor handling the road, China Geo-Engineering Corporation (CGC) Nigeria Limited.

Beyond the ongoing palliative works handled by three different contractors, with the notable repairs carried out between Mopa, Amuro, and Ejiba, the discussions with the CGC centred on the prospect of their return to the site. When that happens, the palliative jobs done would allow CGC to concentrate on the critical portions of the failed road from Osi to Egbe.

On a bigger level, Senator Karimi had dragged the prominent industrialist with business interests in Kogi State before the works minister with a view to concessioning the road project from IluHagba to Ilorin to his company as part of its CSR.

The deal was expected to follow the pattern of equalisation of the Okpella section of the Lokoja-Benin road, an agreement reached between the federal government and BUA Cement last week. The funding for the project will be provided by BUA Cement Plc under the tax credit scheme.

The tax credit scheme enables private companies to fund road projects, alleviating the financial burden on the Federal Government. In exchange, these companies receive tax credits equivalent to their expenditure on the roads.

Talks are billed to continue on the deal at a rescheduled meeting, whose date is yet to be disclosed.

Considering that the best solution to the failed road was cement road, it will be recalled that last November Senator Karimi brokered a meeting involving the business mogul, the Works Minister, and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Ali Ndume, to discuss possibilities of equalisation of the road project from IluHagba to Ilorin.

In a related development, Senator Karimi, Hon. Leke Abejide, Hon. Salman Idris, and Hon. Danladi Suleiman Aguye, Members of the House of Representatives for Yagba, Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu, and Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituencies, respectively, are set to meet with heads of the appropriate committees and agencies of the Federal Government over the deplorable state of roads in Kogi West Senatorial District. The quartet’s mission is primarily about funding and driving for the various road projects.

Major Trunk A roads, Kabba-Egbe-Ilorin, Kabba-Iyara-Iyamoye-Omuo-Ekiti, and Ayetoro-Kiri-Abugi-Eggan roads are all undergoing construction under subsisting contracts handled by the various contractors. The road projects, however, have suffered several setbacks due to poor execution or outright abandonment by the contractors, who cited poor execution or lack of funding.

The ongoing construction of the Iluke-Suku-Ayetoro Kiri-Abugi-Egan road is awaiting completion.

While work has been completed on the Kiri end of the road, work is ongoing on the Abugi portion. All the affected communities—Ayetoro Kiri, Akutupa Kiri, Egan, and Kupa—have always been cut out of Kogi State during the rainy season; the worst hit is Egan and Kupa in the riverine area of the Lokoja local government area of the state.

Simultaneously, the Kabba-Iyamoye-Omuo-Ekiti road has become impassable every year, especially during the rainy season. This is a federal road that links the north to the southwest and has been so useful for the movement of people and goods between the two regions. However, palliative repairs are currently going on in the Iyamoye axis. The job is handled by the contractor handling the Amuro axis along Egbe Road.

Senator Karimi, who disclosed the plans of the four members of the 10th National Assembly to journalists yesterday, said that while the Kabba-Egbe-Ilorin road has been mostly reported by the media, “people should not forget that other major federal roads such as Kiri-Abugi-Egan road and Kabba-Iyara-Iyamoye-Omuo-Ekiti roads are begging for equal federal attention.”

He added, “You know that generally, the road is the number one problem Nigeria is facing as a country. We have a big task with the number of kilometres of federal roads begging for federal attention in Kogi West alone.

“But we are up to the task because that is what we are elected for. Four of us are going to go around the appropriate committees and agencies of the Federal Government to mobilise funds to be included in the supplementary budget for the purposes of attending to federal road situations within the senatorial district and three federal constituencies,” he said.

Contrary to reports that the Kabba-Egbe-Ilorin road is not in the 2024 appropriation act, Senator Karimi disclosed that the Kabba-Egbe-Ilorin road project is indeed in the budget and made provisions for but compartmentalised under different names to ease funding, due to the shrinking federal purse.”

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