As Amaechi Calls on Niger Delta Youth to Embrace Development
By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
Port Harcourt -In a bid to ensure the completion of the East-West Road, the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, has disclosed, that the sum of N100 billion is needed by the contractors to actualize the Dualization projects.
Amaechi who said this in Port Harcourt on Thursday, during a tour of the East-West road, in the company of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs , Usani Uguru Usani, noted that the tour became necessary due to allegations that the road has been abandoned.
According to him, “I thank the Minister and the President for asking us to come. The reason why I say that is that, my initial knowledge on what our opponents are saying, no roads, we have abandoned the East-West road.
“You know that we drove all the way from Warri without heating any bad road. So, in some areas, one lane has been completed, in some areas, the two lanes have been completed. So, it means that you can drive all the way from Warri to Port Harcourt without hitches.
“Those areas where they’ve not completed the second lane, you heard the man saying that if they get the sum of N59 billion, they will complete it. So, I think that, most people are politicising the road.
“For the contractor, what he said he needs is N57 billion actually. The other guy said he needs N43 billion and that’s about N100 billion to complete the road” he said.
He further noted that, from Warri to Patani has a lane left to be completed, adding also, that the second lane, from Patani to Ahoada and from Ahoada to Eleme is being completed all the way to Port Harcourt.
The Minister however expressed dismay over the attitude of the youth in the South-South region towards the developmental agenda of the Government, adding that the activities of militants are slowing down work and development in the region.
“I am not too happy with the militancy. You see, you will see every contractor with soldiers and police and that is not the right thing to do. I am working as the Minister for transportation on Lagos-Ibadan and no army or police and there are Chinese there. Nobody is kidnapping them, no communal clashes, nobody is harassing them. Here, once you bring one project,every body gathers.
“I We must tell our young men that it cannot continue. If we do, other parts of the country will leave us behind. In the cabinet, nobody is looking at your face, they are looking at the country and other parts that are not ready for development, other parts won’t wait for them.
“You cannot tell anybody from Igbo land to wait until you develop south-south, or anybody from Sokoto to wait until you develop Rivers state, no way. It is too bad” he stressed.
On his part, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani,stated that lack of funds has been responsible for the delay in the delivery of the project, adding that the contractors need funds to continue and be permanently on site to execute the job and complete it.
Speaking on when the projects are expected to be completed, he said, “As soon as people pay their taxes, stop militancy, bursting of pipelines and as soon as we get more revenue, the project would be completed.
“The FEC gives priority to this project and this is the reason this ministerial committee was established to come and do the assessment, the government is willing to source funds from whatever source to give attention to the project”. He said
Usani further noted that, “the project started in 2006, so it is 12 years old today. I would say so far, the progress made upon our entry into the project on a proportionate rate has been far more progressive than the previous administration. We have actually done much to give it preference”.
Also speaking, the Ag. Managing Director, Setraco Nigeria Limited, Dr. Ray Chaudhuri said the company was awarded the contract in 2009 to handle section I and II, stating that section I has been completed.
He said that one section was 80 per cent completed while the other section was 60 per cent completed stating that if government provide the necessary funds it could be completed in two years.
Recall that the East-West Road project is in sections: with Section I starting from Warri/Ughelli in Delta State which terminates at Kaiama in Bayelsa State. Section II/1 starts from Port Harcourt to Ahoada in Rivers state. Section II/2 begins from Ahoada and terminates at Kaiama.
Section III starts from Eleme Junction and terminates at Eket in Akwa Ibom State. section IV commences from Eket to Oron, also in Akwa Ibom State. Section V begins from Oron to Calabar, Cross River State.
The Dualization of East-West road section II, sub-section II from Ahoada to Kaima was contracted to Setraco Nigeria Limited while the Dualization of East-West road section III: Port Harcourt (Eleme Junction)-Eket in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states. KM 0 to KM 15(stage 2) and KM 15 -KM 99 (stage 1) was contracted to Reynolds Construction Co.(Nig) Ltd.
The projects are being handled and overseen by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.