Less than a week after the federal government ordered the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to ensure they attain zero portholes on all the highways in the country by the end of the year, some members of the Nigerian Senate have suggested that FERMA be scrapped. This suggestion was in reaction to Sen. Ita Enang’s (PDP-Akwa Ibom) query that FERMA’s budget for 2012 is bias and favors a section of the country.
The Senate President, Senator David Mark on his part has called on all chairs of committees in the Senate to make sure that project allocation in the country are not biased but represent the whole country. He condemned the act, confessing that he has not seen the budget but the senators would have done something very wrong if the allegations were true.
In his words, “The important thing is that every senator is a senator of Nigeria. If you are a chair of a committee, you must also know that there are other senators who are chairmen of other committees… We must be fair, and we must ensure that there is justice and that there is equity. I do not know what they have advertised, but if it is skewed in one direction, it is not correct… It must be representative of this country. That is what the Senate is all about.”
Senator Enang had early on complained that the FERMA budget was unbalanced as all projects for road construction were directed to only one state. In his words, “The budget of Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) is not representative of this country. It starts almost in one state and ends in one state… The roads start mostly in the Southeast and are concentrated in Enugu State. I am sorry to say this, and that should not be done in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria… I am saying this from what is on record,’’ Enang queried.
The Senator earlier moved that the FERMA budget be stopped without further delays and restructured to cover all zones, as should originally be: “Let Enugu State alone not take the money that belongs to the entire country. Mr President, I want us to even dissolve FERMA because it is not doing what it is supposed to do… One person alone has the opportunity to write the budget, he diverts everything to his village and starves the entire country.”