President Muhammadu Buhari has directed immediate release of N19.67 billion to fast track the completion of the dualization of the East-West road project.
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio disclosed this during a meeting he had with contractors handling different sections of the road projects in Abuja, added, Mr President also directed that the highway project should be completed by 2021 to address the deficient infrastructure in the region and boast the economic life of the people.
Akpabio explained that the East-West road which was conceived in 2006 during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration was to be completed in 2010, but this was stalled principally due to paucity of funds.
He recalled that “In April 2009, the project was transferred to Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, with the mandate of fast-tracking its completion, this could not also be realized due to in-flexible terms prescribed by Financial institutions in this regard.
The minister noted that despite the chequered history of the project which may not require less than N102 billion for its overall completion, President Muhammadu Buhari in line with the determination of his administration to address the issue of deficient infrastructure in the country has graciously decided to consider issues surrounding the delay in the completion of the project with a Presidential pronouncement on June 12, 2020, target to ensure that what needs to be done is put in place for the completion of the East-West road by 2021.
“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 disposition of the region to the stability of Nigeria’s Economy, the project will not only redress infrastructural deficient in the region, but its completion would also assist the oil industry in terms of moving goods that will facilitate oil production, Movement within the area, Restiveness and boast the economic life of the people and the Nation at large”, he said.
The immediate past Governor of Akwa Ibom state said that this administration has undertaken more infrastructural development projects than any other government he has met and the East-West road would be one of the legacy projects of this administration.
He thanked the contractors for being committed to ensuring that the Presidential mandate is achieved by re-mobilizing back to site even when funds have not been made available and assured them of the people’s cooperation.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Omotayo Alasoadura in his remarks appealed to the contractors to work hard to fulfil the mandate of Mr President.
The Contractors thanked the Minister for giving them the opportunity to work with the MNDA and reiterated their readiness to remobilize back to site immediately to meet the 2021 target deadline.