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Akpabio assures Niger Delta youths of completion of East West road

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Godswill Akpabio

Says FG has injected fresh N20 billion into project
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, yesterday, appealed to protesting Niger Delta youths to be patient with the Federal Government, as the ministry has injected another N20 billion to facilitate completion of the East West road project.

He said the amount was besides the initial N10 billion the ministry had committed to the project through the yearly budgets of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in 2020 to ensure that the road gets completed as soon as possible.

Hundreds of youths under the auspices of the Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF) had on Monday, blocked the Eleme-Onne axis of the East West Road in a peaceful protest against Federal Government’s neglect of that part of the road.

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But during a meeting yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State with Ogoni stakeholders, Akpabio appealed for peace and calm in the region.

“I urge the Ogoni youths, stakeholders and the Niger Delta people to bear with the authorities. I assure them that the Federal Government is taking adequate steps to address the deplorable state of the Eleme-Onne section soon to ensure completion of the project by the end of 2022,” he said.

Akpabio, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Babayo Ardo, disclosed that the ministry had proposed an extra-budgetary intervention for inclusion of Sections I-IV of the East West road in the 2020 SUKUK Issuance Programme of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and Debt Management Office (DMO).

“This was part of efforts the ministry made to access adequate funding for the completion of the project.

“Therefore, the ministry had to award the contract for additional work to RCC Nigeria Limited to upgrade the Port Harcourt-Onne Port Junction,” he said.

He explained that the scope of works included, but not limited to widening the road from two-lane to three-lane, dual-carriage way and construction of interchange bridges at Refinery and Onne Port Junction to smoothen traffic flow.

He further stated that due to inadequate yearly budgetary provisions, the contract for upgrading section IIIA, which was awarded in 2014, could not commence until the ministry paid the contractors the full mobilisation advance in 2020.

“The condition of the road deteriorated during the delay period and there has been serious encroachment on the right-of-way (ROW) initially delineated for the project.

“But with the review of initial contract scope of work and contract unit rates imperative, the ministry scheduled specific measures for addressing the contingent site conditions hindering the progress of work,” he added.

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