Crusoe Osagie, the SPECIAL Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media Projects, has called on residents to hold the Federal Government accountable for the deplorable condition of federal roads in the state and the ongoing hardship caused by the increase in fuel price due to the removal of fuel subsidy.
Osagie made this statement in response to a group of protesters in Benin City, comprised of civil society organizations and activists, who gathered at the Government House to express their concerns about the high cost of petroleum products. The rising prices have significantly affected the cost of living, resulting in hardship and suffering for the people.
The media aide emphasized that Governor Godwin Obaseki cannot directly change the fuel price or repair federal roads, as the money spent on such projects would not be reimbursed to the state for its own road initiatives. Instead, he urged the protesters to focus their efforts on urging the Federal Government to fulfill its responsibilities.
Osagie explained, “We are facing challenges with Edo’s roads, which is why it would be difficult for us to use funds meant for Edo’s projects to fix federal roads. The Federal Government receives 54 per cent of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) revenue, while local governments and states share the remaining 46 per cent. The Federal Government is just one entity, whereas there are 36 states.”
“The Edo State government cannot allocate its resources to repair federal roads, knowing that such funds will not be returned to the state. We have state roads that need to be fixed, such as the Ekehuan Road, among others. We cannot neglect state roads to repair federal roads.”
Governor Obaseki has been appealing to the Federal Government to assist in repairing federal roads in the state, including the Benin-Abraka Road, the Benin-Auchi Road (where a lawmaker was almost killed), the Benin-Sapele Road, and the Benin-Lagos Road at the Ovia River bridge. However, these calls have gone unanswered, and there is no guarantee that action will be taken.
Regarding the increase in fuel pump prices, Osagie clarified that the governor cannot unilaterally change the fuel price as demanded by the protesters. Nevertheless, he pledged to help the protesters forward their grievances in a letter to the appropriate authorities for consideration and action.
Regarding the alleged increase in federal allocation to the state, the governor’s media aide refuted the claim, stating that there had been no such increment. He cautioned against spreading unfounded allegations and misinformation, urging the protesters to present their statements based on verified facts.
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