In a bid to stem the tide of what it described as “wilful damage” to roads and other infrastructure across the country, the federal government has directed state Attorneys-General to henceforth prosecute all such cases and ensure that offenders face legal sanctions.
The directive, which emanated from the Office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, specifically directed the chief law officers of the 36 states to immediately takeover both pending and new cases of damages to federal roads, bridges and other public utilities within their jurisdictions.
On the strength of the directive, a statement by the Director of Press and Public Relations, Boade Akinola, stressed yesterday that the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, had already written to the attorney-general of Ogun state to handle a case of damage to three flyover bridges along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway against one Folarin Temitope.
“The charge is that on March 12, 2021, one Folarin Temitope, while driving a low-bed Renault trailer with registration number MUS 758 XU, conveying an excavator, damaged three flyover bridges at Ogunmakin, Isara and Sapade respectively along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
“Investigations later by the Ogunmakin unit of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) revealed that the excavator inflicted the damage on the bridges because its height was above the clearance level allowed by the bridges and this led to the booking of the driver for road obstruction and dangerous driving while the Isara Police Division impounded the vehicle and charged the driver to the Isara Magistrate’s Court in Ogun State,” the statement said.
Noting that the court ordered the release of the vehicle owners when the case came up for hearing on August 3, 2021, Fashola requested the Ogun state to take over the prosecution of the suit, saying the seriousness of the case required that the commissioner should “exercise his constitutional power to take over the suit” as directed by the federal government.
Requesting the commissioner to liaise with the FRSC and the police prosecutor for further information about the case, the minister urged the state government to ensure the diligent prosecution of the matter.
“Having regard to the seriousness of the offence and the implication of the damage occasioned by the negligence of the driver on the affected bridges, the federal government is interested in ensuring that the matter is prosecuted diligently and professionally by the ministry of justice with counsel in the ministry of works and housing holding a watching brief,” he said.
Meanwhile, the minister yesterday inaugurated the executive directors of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) with a call on them to live up to expectations in the discharge of their duties.
The inauguration of the three executive directors which was done at the main conference room at the headquarters of the ministry in Mabushi, Abuja, brings to five the number of executive directors at the FHA.
Urging the new directors to work diligently , Fashola listed the tasks as: estate development, housing development and maintenance of the existing estates of FHA, pointing out the imperative of ascertaining all the assets owned by the authority.
He further explained that having a list of all the assets belonging to FHA would enable the federal government meet the housing needs of Nigerians.
“ We have taken steps to reposition the FHA to further deepen its ability to deliver service to Nigerians in terms of housing. One of the first thing that we did was to get Mr. President to approve the appointment of additional three executive directors which inauguration we do today.
“ The board used to have two executive directors but to achieve improved service delivery and asset maintenance, a recommendation and presidential approval was sought to increase the number,” he said
Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Babangida Hussaini , encouraged the FHA directors to work together, to re-organise and improve service delivery to Nigerians in terms of housing delivery.
Responding on behalf of the newly inaugurated Directors, Mrs Hauwa Mohammed, the Executive Director, Estate Services, pledged the readiness of the directors to work effectively as a team towards the realisation of thee objectives of the FHA.
The other newly-inaugurated directors were Mrs. Adama Kure as the Executive Director, Housing and Finance and Chinonso Omole as Executive Director, Project Implementation.