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2009-07-07:Yar'Adua Gives Bi-Courtney Marching Orders On Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

*Opens N2.5b Ogun Secretariat

By Segun Adeleye

Bi-Courtney, the concessionaire of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, has been given a marching orders by the Federal Government to mobilise to site next month, since it says it is ready to lay out N90 billion for the project, to be recouped by charging motorists.

The company will expand the Lagos-Sagamu route to eight lanes, and the Sagamu-Ibadan axis to six, according to its Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications, Olugbenga Odugbesan.

President Umaru Yar'Adua gave the directive in Abeokuta on Monday at the commissioning of the N2.5 billion Ogun State secretariat.

He lauded Governor Gbenga Daniel for the co-operation the state is giving to Bi-Courtney on the provision of infrastructure, which is "part of our seven-point agenda."

Yar'Adua said concessioning would allow the government to tap into the expertise and resources of the private sector to provide and maintain infrastructure that would raise productive capacity and grow the economy.

"It will also expand the resources available to the government to invest in deepening human capital in our country. I am sure that Nigeria can count on your continued support for the success of this bold experiment," he added.

Yar'Adua urged Daniel to stretch his support for the project by moving trucks from the expressway to their new locations.

He pledged that the government would deepen the skills of its workforce to ensure efficiency, noting the way Daniel "motivates the state's workforce with a conducive work environment and other incentives."

But Daniel pleaded with Yar'Adua to reimburse Ogun for money spent on federal projects, and to modernise the railways to breathe life into the Kajola Free Trade Zone.

"As you may be aware," Daniel reminded Yar'Adua, "our state is among the bottom eight in terms of allocation from the Federation Account. We therefore need every Naira we can get to meet the multifarious yearnings of our people.

"I have no doubt that Mr. President will look upon these rather modest requests with genuine compassion and kind consideration," as Ogun remains the only littoral state in the federation yet to enjoy the status of an oil-producing state."

Source:Daily Independent

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