by Idoreyin Sampson
At the kick-off of the 2nd Ministerial Platform at Radio House today, June 3 2013 in Abuja, the Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen revealed the youth programmes of the ministry.
The first of a month-long series designed to provide details on President Jonathan’s mid-term report, the event was attended by the Transport Minister, Sen. Idris Umar, Information Minister Mr. Labaran Maku, the Works Minister, Arc. Mike Onolememen, and Minister of State Works, Amb. Bashir Yuguda.
When asked about what programmes the ministry has for the youth, aside from employment, Omolememen said that though his ministry is not of Youth Development, it has employed 4,000 youth through its direct labour road maintenance programme under its agency, Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), in addition the minister said 500 ‘youthful’ engineers had been employed and trained to function in the Works Ministry.
At the forum, the Minister of Works revealed that the Federal Government has spent N120 billion since 2011 to complete 32 federal roads across the nation, estimated to cost N126 billion.
“The Federal Ministry of Works under my leadership has been able to make momentous improvements on the rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion of federal roads network in these past two years. So far, we have completed 32 road projects covering about 2,000km,” Onolememen said.
Onolememen said that before the Jonathan administration come into office on May 29, 2011, the nation’s roads were regarded as death traps and only 22% of the 35,000 km of tarred roads that belong to the Federal Government were in good condition, and the few road projects were moving at snail speed with some as old as 8 years. But in 2 years, the administration has taken that figure up to 59.8%; upscaling 27.3% of the roads.
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku described the achievements of the Works Ministry as magical and tremendous achievement which has not been seen before in the history of the country. He also said that the achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan in two years could not be matched by any other administration since the country gained independence from the British in 1960.
“I challenge anybody to a debate on this issue. The facts are there for all to see,” Maku said.
The Minister of Works also revealed that the ministry had earmarked 6 flagship projects, 1 each from the 6 geo-political zones in the country which would be funded from the Sure-P funds.
Maku added that the Sure-P funds was distributed between the three tiers of government – Federal, States, and Local Government Council – that the Federal Government was giving account to the people on what it is doing, the people owe themselves a responsibility to demand accountability from their state and local governments.
The ministerial platform, according to the Minister of Information is “designed to promote national conversation and good governance” was attended by the media, organised civil society, the private sector, professional guilds, and organised labour to “make the national conversation on the nation’s development process fully participatory”.