The Presidency has disclosed that a number of deceitful and ghost projects were awarded under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Many of the projects were said to be merely on paper and no payment was made for their start-up.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, revealed these in an interview program on Express Radio in Kano on Tuesday.
Noting that a number of projects existed on paper are now being activated, he cited the Kano-Katsina dual road project as an example of what he called “deceitful and ghost projects now being given life.”
“Kano-Katsina dual highway was awarded three years ago by the last administration. They didn’t pay a kobo for its start-up. President Buhari just paid money for the first tranche of 75 kilometres and work has begun apace.” He stated
He said that Nigeria is taking a giant leap in infrastructure development by speeding up ongoing projects and investing heavily in the construction and repair of highways, railways and power generating plants across the country.
The Buhari administration, he said, had chosen to fast-track projects related to infrastructure in order to pump money into the economy as a way of pulling the economy out of recession.
To this end, he said that an unprecedented amount of N750 Billion Naira has been released for capital projects in the last five months and that counterpart funds for the take-off of the USD 11 billion Kano-Lagos rail project had been paid.
He described the essence of infrastructure in the country’s economic as an equivalent of the arteries forming the bloodstream in the body.
“Without infrastructure, the country will not witness growth,” he noted.
On the resurgence of militancy and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region, Malam Garba appealed to militants to maintain peace in the region as the President seeks a permanent solution to the problems that are worrisome to every citizen.
“We must keep national interest above all else and give priority to eschewing violence and destruction,” he urged.
The Presidential spokesman expressed regrets that despite its good faith in pursuing dialogue with the Niger Delta stakeholders, the militant groups have not reciprocated the government’s good gesture in finding the peaceful and lasting solution to the crisis in the oil-producing areas of Nigeria.
“Despite the government’s practical demonstration of goodwill by bringing the parties or stakeholders to the round table, the militant groups have continued to blow up national economic assets.”
According to Malam Garba, the continued destruction of oil installations, including those repaired, has thrown a spanner in the works, causing enormous hardships on innocent Nigerians on account of declining oil production output and massive losses of revenues, which in turn, badly affect the ability of governments at all levels to meet their basic obligations, including payment of salaries.
While cautioning that violence brings no benefits to anybody, he appealed to Niger Delta leaders at all levels to exert every influence they have to stop the violence and economic sabotage “so that normalcy returns to the region.”