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Akpabio to seek FEC’s revalidation, award of East-West road section V

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Godswill Akpabio

Sections 1-4 to be ready by December 2021
Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has disclosed that he will approach the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the revalidation and award of the contract for Section V of the East-West road.

Akpabio gave the hint yesterday in Abuja at the round table of counterparts on the complementary programme for the East-West road project, stressing the ministry’s commitment to deliver Sections I-IV of the road in line with government’s desire to award Section V after technical reviews.

He explained that FEC initially awarded the section, which covers Oron-Calabar, to RCC Construction Company, but it was abandoned due to the excessive cost of the project after it was re-routed.

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Akpabio indicted Calabar people for the delay in delivering Section V, adding that from the records available at the ministry, the contract was awarded for N265m for 23 kilometers, but the plan was altered because of cemetery and claims that graves would be excavated.

“So, the result was that the price increased from the initial N265m to N495m. How do we handle that when the Federal Government is getting demands from all over the country?

“I thought we should go back to the original design, which will give us a straight line and when we get to the cemetery, part of the grave yard must give way, but we will do our best to ensure it passes through the FEC,” he stated.

The minister revealed that the ministry targeted December 2021 to deliver Sections I-IV of the East-West road, saying: “The management of the corridor is also important such that it will enable the development of aesthetics and other infrastructure along the road network.”

Also, Speaking, Permanent Secretary MNDA, Dr. Babayo Ardo, said the road traversing all states of the Niger Delta region had been under construction since 2006, but the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration pledged to ensure that the road was completed by 2021.

Babayo said to actualis the promise, the ministry was not only pulling resources to ensure that the East-West road was completed, but also that its completion and management would be prioritized at the fourth National Council of Niger Delta scheduled for between December 14 and December 19, 2020 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Earlier, Director of Housing and Urban Development at the ministry, Patrick Okereafor, said the meeting was convened to discuss a draft work plan for 2021, brief Akpabio and issue advisory note to participants from the concerned states.

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