President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the release of N19.67 billion to facilitate the completion of sections I-1V of the East-West Road project.

Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, stated this on Thursday in Abuja at a meeting with contractors handling various sections of the project, adding that the presidential directive was part of the moves taken to resolve infrastructure deficit in the Niger-Delta and stimulate the region’s economy.

The East-West Road was conceived in 2006 during the regime of former President Olusegun Obasanjo with 2010 set as its completion date but shortage of fund has hindered the plan.

Mr Akpabio, however, promised that the project, which requires about N102 billion for its completion, would be delivered in 2021.

He noted that the project was transferred to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in April 2009 with the mandate to fast-track its completion.

The minister said the plan also could not be realised due to the rigid terms prescribed by financial institutions.

According to him, the president had, in line with its administration’s resolve to address infrastructure deficit in the country, directed that issues hindering the timely delivery of the project be addressed.

“The project, which starts from the Delta Steel Company Roundabout in Delta State, transverses through Kaiama in Bayelsa State, goes through Ahoada in Port Harcourt in Rivers State, down to Eket and from Eket to Oron in Akwa Ibom State, is to complete the Section I-IV being part of the two sections that had previously been completed. Section–V, which covers 23km from Oron to Calabar, is still under process.

“Considering the contribution of the region to the stability of Nigeria’s economy, the project will not only address infrastructural deficit in the region, its completion would assist the oil industry in terms of moving goods that will facilitate oil production, movement within the area, restiveness and boost the economic life of the people and the nation at large,” Mr Akpabio said.

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