From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has said the Federal Government is impacting lives positively in the area of infrastructural development and social amenities in the Niger Delta region.
Akpabio, according to the Director, Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Patricia Deworitshe, stated this while making a presentation at the 19th Session of the State House Briefing organized by the Presidential Communication Team at the Presidential Villa Abuja.
Akpabio said: “President Muhammadu Buhari is more interested in the grassroot development, therefore, he has shown keen interest in the activities of the ministry, that is why the ministry is determined to undertake laudable projects that will uplift the lives of the Niger Deltans.”
Akpabio added that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs was created in 2008 to address infrastructural deficit, environmental degradation and pollution and other sultry issues confronting the oil rich region.
He stated that since his assumption of office in 2019, the ministry has made efforts to live up to the mandate by embarking on various projects and programmes to improve the socioeconomic well being of the people.
Akpabio told the audience that the East-West road project which is a carriageway that spans a total of 338km, containing over 41 number bridges, had a historical debt of N11 billion in 2019 owed to contractors which has been cleared by the Buhari administration.
According to Akpabio, “This came from the magnanimity of Mr. President who approved the payment when he returned the project to the ministry and thereafter, we have had various sums of monies released to contractors who had gone back to sites.”
Akpabio further said the Eleme-Onne Section was not included when the East-West road project was awarded, disclosing that at that time, the section was in good shape and the two bridges were functional.
Akpabio however said the ministry has released the sum of N2.5 billion in August, 2021, for a quick and emergency intervention due to the present deplorable condition of the section.
He disclosed that N19.4 billion of funds for 2020 capital projects budget of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is being committed to the East-West road and N7.5 billion has been paid, while additional funding of N35 billion will come from Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for the project.
Akpabio further disclosed that request for mobilization of special funding from SUKUK Issuance through the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has also been made to Mr. President to ensure the completion of the road.
“We are redesigning the entire area because of the defects we have noticed. That area would be six lanes, no longer four lanes. We are going to construct additional two bridges, flyovers and a new flyover bridge at Akpajo intersection because of heavy flow of traffic as the road links to the big fertilizer company at Indorama, Wotore, Onne Port Harcourt Refining Company, PPMC. I, therefore appeal to the Eleme people, Niger Deltans and Nigerians for their patience and support as we are working hard to salvage the situation,” Akpabio also said.
The Minister further assured the completion of the Section 1-4 linking Warri to Oron through Kaima, Ahoada, Port Harcourt, Ogoni and Eket Township, while section five axis would be considered soon.
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