FG hints at borrowing to complete East-West road by April 2022
As Eleme, Ogoni youths threaten showdown over delay
Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Omotayo Alasoadura, yesterday, hinted that the Federal Government is ready to borrow to ensure that the East-West road gets completed by April 2022.
He stated this during the inspection of sections two and three of the project in Port Harcourt, Rivers State
But as the minister made the promise on behalf of the Federal Government, Eleme and Ogoni youths threatened to block the bridge connecting the airport if there was no meaningful progress on the project within one month.
They lamented that the Federal Government was investing little on the Niger Delta region that was contributing so much to the national treasury and investing more on the northern region that was contributing less to the nation’s coffers.
They urged the minister to order the contractors to commence payment of compensation to affected families for peace to reign in that axis of the project.
While appealing for calm, Alasoadura said the ministry had released about N7b to contractors to facilitate the project, urging the contractors to comply with government’s directives for the ministry to handover the project.
His words: “This is the only pride we have, whatever we need to do, even if it is to borrow, we will, just do the physical work and leave the money aspect to us.
“Do the work and ask us for money, just give us a schedule that will ensure that we deliver this road to the people of South-South, the oil-producing areas of the country where the golden eggs are laid. Our target is between January 1 and April 1, 2022.”
He added that the contract was awarded to Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) Nigeria Limited at the cost of N43.8b on December 1, 2014 with a completion period of 24 months, as there was additional work on the expansion of section three of the East-West road contract, but nothing was done before the present administration took over.
Alasoadura further explained that the objective of the contract was to ensure safe and efficient movement of traffic along the 15km stretch of the highway from Onne Port, Port Harcourt Refinery, Eleme Petrochemicals and other companies by expanding the carriageway from four to six lanes, eliminating traffic bottlenecks and ensuring a durable and road with good drainage.
Responding, Michel Issa of Setraco assured the minister that the project would be completed within the stipulated time if the companies were mobilised on time with the required capital.
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