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Akpabio rues lack of funds, insists on N102b for East-West road

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Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, yesterday lamented paucity of funds for critical projects in the country, saying about N102b is required to complete the East West road awarded 14 years ago.

Akpabio stated this in Abuja during a meeting with contractors handling different sections of the project, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the release of N19.67b to facilitate the completion of section I-IV of the road by 2021 to address the infrastructure deficit and boost the Niger Delta region’s economy.

He 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 was stalled due to paucity of funds.

“The project was transferred to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in April 2009, with the mandate of ensuring its completion and this was not also realised due to inflexible terms prescribed by financial institutions,” he said.

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He explained that in spite of the checkered history of the project, which may require about N102b to complete, the President in his administration’s determination to address infrastructure deficit in the country, decided to address the delay in the completion of the East West road project.

Consequently, he made a pronouncement on June 18, 2020 to ensure that whatever needed to be done was put in place for the completion of the road by 2021.

Also, Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Omotayo Alasoadura, appealed to the contractors to work hard to fulfill the President’s mandate.

The contractors thanked the minister for the opportunity to work with the ministry and reiterated their readiness to immediately mobilise to site to meet the 2021 deadline.

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