SPEECH BY H.E. RT. HON. (DR) SIMON BAKO LALONG, KSGG EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF PLATEAU STATE, ON THE OCCASION OF THE FLAGGING -OFF OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE FLY-OVER (INTERCHANGE) AT BRITISH-AMERICAN JUNCTION AND DUALISATION OF THE ROAD TO LAMINGO JUNCTION ROUNDABOUT ON FRIDAY 11TH MARCH 2022 PROTOCOLS
It is with great joy that I welcome you to this landmark event which is the official ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the fly-over here at the British-American Junction and dualization to Lamingo Junction roundabout. This is a moment to give God the Glory for His grace and continuous guidance as we deliver on our campaign promises to the good people of Plateau State.I must use this opportunity to appreciate the citizens of Plateau State for their patience, trust, support and prayers in this administration’s effort to rescue the State.
You will recall that when we were elected into office in 2015, we vowed to leave Plateau State better than we met it. Indeed our initial 5-pillar policy gave us the guide for resetting the myriad of problems we inherited from the previous administration. Our people will remember that I made a promise that the Rescue Administration will make an impact in their lives through the provision of critical infrastructure in all parts of the State. In particular, I emphasised that we will not abandon inherited projects especially those which have direct bearing on the lives of the people because doing the contrary will amount to waste of public funds.
This explains why the most part of our first tenure was pre-occupied with completion of abandoned projects by the immediate past administration and those of previous governments which it refused to touch. We however chose to change the narrative by completing most of these projects despite the fact that we inherited them from a government of an opposition party. To us, the interest of the people is bigger than party or personal ego. I am happy that today, we have maintained this trajectory even in our recasted 3-pillar policy vision of Peace Security and Good Governance; Sustainable Economic Rebirth; and Infrastructural Development.
In our efforts to consolidate on achievements in road infrastructure, the total sum of about N12 billion naira has so far been expended by our administration on payment of outstanding cost of projects unfinished by the previous administration and billions of naira on numerous projects awarded by our Rescue administration. These include payments on some projects which were not completed but hurriedly commissioned at the twilight of the previous Government.
Some of the numerous uncompleted projects hurriedly commissioned by the Jang administration for which this administration had to bear the burden of paying the contractors to complete include: The old Airport- Rayfield-Bukuru with spur to Chong; Dualisation of Bukuru-Kugiya-Rahol Kanang with spurs; Dualisation of Lamingo to JUTH; the new Government House Infrastructure; Bisichi-Korot-Mangu Halle and spurs to mention but a few.
Many people will also recall that the Rehabilitation and reconstruction of Mararaban Jama’a to British American Junction Road was abandoned causing untold hardship to people coming into Plateau State or passing through from the Abuja axis. We made it a priority to complete the road and the fly-over at the Secretariat Junction by settling all outstanding liabilities to the contractor and funding it to completion. This fly over was commissioned by the President Muhammadu Buhari in April 2018. Also, some of the completed and commissioned roads with outstanding payment in favour of the contractors include: Dualisation of Polo-Farin Gada with fly-over at Kabong; Dualization of DB Zang-JD Gomwalk-Polo Round About; Bukuru-Shen Road; Rayfield-Gut Road; Dualization of Rukuba Road among others.
After settling some of these abandoned projects, my administration awarded various projects some of which have been completed and commissioned while others have reached advanced levels of completion. These include: Miango Road-Federal Lowcost-Wild Life Park-Rafiki with Spur as well as Tudun Wada and Old Airport Roads.Also, 12 township roads were reconstructed across the Jos-Bukuru Metropolis and many other roads rehabilitated and asphalted under the Operation Zero Potholes, thereby easing the frustration of our citizens.
Because of our passion to spread development across the entire State and in the spirit of equity, fairness and inclusivity, we awarded contracts for road projects in the three senatorial districts. Some of them include: Dokan Tofa- Ba’ap-Kurgwi Road; Shendam Township Roads: Mangu Bye-pass Road; Rukuba Road; Miango-Vom-Farin Lamba Road; Langtang-Garkawa–Yelwa Road; Shendam-Yelwa-Nyak- Mato-Taraba State Border; Kwande-Shimankar-Mato road; Tenti-Manguna Road; Demshin Angwan Dadi Road; Fobur-Maijuju road; Zarazon-Fobur Road among others. Some of them are almost completed and will soon be commissioned. This administration is committed to funding and completing these projects before leaving office in 2023.
In order to tackle the challenges of insecurity in the State and the need to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, this administration embarked on the installation of solar powered street lights within Jos and Bukuru metropolis under the Operation Light up Plateau at the initial cost of N2.9 billion covering 72km. This has greatly enhanced the security of lives and property and impacted on the beauty of the metropolis. We are making efforts to continue with the next phase of the project to ensure that our major cities and towns are lit up.
Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, I have taken the time to give these highlights just to remind our people that our Rescue Administration does not, and will not politicise development. From what I have reeled out, it is evident that we have not only executed projects (both inherited and new ones), but ensured that every part of the State is touched irrespective of whether the people voted us or not. We have put behind us the era of carrying out projects to favour ethnic, political or religious affiliations.
The gain recorded in the development of these critical infrastructures is the reason we are gathered here today to flag-off the construction of the British-America fly-over and dualization of Lamingo Junction Roundabout. We are all aware of the nightmare citizens of the State and other road users go through to commute through this corridor. Our decision to take the construction of this fly over and dualization up to Lamingo junction is borne out of the need to place the State on a pedestal for economic growth knowing that the long hours people spend on traffic impedes commerce.
Besides, this same road is a major carriageway that links the Northeast Region to the Federal Capital Territory and other parts of the country. At the end of the day, this project will fit into the Reconstruction and the Dualisation of the Akwanga-Jos-Bauchi-Gombe road which is part of the Dualization of Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi road being carried out by the Federal Government. While we eagerly await the commencement of the Akwanga through Jos to Gombe segment of the project, the construction of this Fly-over is an intervention by Plateau State on a section of this Federal Road.
I have directed the State Ministry of Works to Liaise with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to ensure that conditions for intervention are fulfilled in addition to a joint-supervision to meet up with the standards and specifications that are set for such interventions to enable us get reimbursed for this work. This is the first road project that my administration has carried out using the Public Private Partnership option in funding.
Because of our governance style and ability to generate confidence and earn the goodwill of the private sector, the contractor, Craneburg Construction Company Ltd. brought along a finance partner, Access Bank Nigeria Plc. to provide all the funds with the State Government providing the guarantee. Following the signing of the agreement, the funding partner has mobilised the contractor with substantial funds and commitment to continue with further payments on presentation of certificates of valuation from the supervisory Ministry.
Let me specially commend the contractor, Craneburg Construction Co Nigeria Ltd. and the financier, Access Bank Nigeria Plc. for this partnership which has not only opened a new vista in project funding for the State, but also affirmed the success of the administration in restoring confidence in Plateau State and rebuilding the economy. I therefore assure citizens of the State and other road users that with this guaranteed funding arrangement and the commitment so far demonstrated by the contractor, this project will be completed and commissioned by my administration before leaving office in May 2023.
I wish to commend the Ministry of Works and the Compensation Committee for the diligent work and constant engagements with stakeholders along the corridor which is a Federal Highway and thus falls within the Federal Right of Way. Let me use this opportunity to warn citizens that build on our Right of Way to desist from such actions. For the purpose of emphasis, the Right of Way on this road is 47.25 metres from the center of road on either side. It applies that all the property that are being assessed within this perimeter are on the Right of Way.
As a listening Government, some token will be paid to the developers along the path of this project even though in the true sense of it, they are illegal structures. Henceforth Government will not hesitate to demolish any property built on the Right of Way of either a Federal or State road within the State. Government officials found to have compromised or acted with negligence in allowing illegal structures on the Right of Way will not be spared. Our effort is aimed at building a city in line with the original master plan and in accordance to laid down guidelines.
Finally, I want to specially thank our father, His Excellency Gen. Yakubu Gowon, GCON, former Head of State who has graciously honoured us to personally come and flag off this very important project. Your Excellency, we know that with your blessings and the grace of God, this project will be completed on schedule. When you laid the Foundation of the Plateau State University Bokkos many years ago, it came to fruition. This too will be a success in Jesus name. I also thank my colleagues Governors and others who have also honoured us with their presence. Plateau people appreciate your friendship and goodwill.
On this note, it is now my singular honour and privilege to invite our father His Excellency, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, GCON, former Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to make his remarks and officially Flag off the construction of British-American Flyover and dualization to Lamingo Junction Roundabout.
God bless Plateau State and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Gov Lalong's Speech at Flagging-Off of British-American Fly-Over
It is with great joy that I welcome you to this landmark event which is the official ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the fly-over here at the British-American Junction and dualization to Lamingo Junction roundabout.