Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has directed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to make provision in its budget for the completion of the East-West road.
Akpabio gave the directive over the weekend while on project inspection at Eleme, Rivers State. He promised that the ministry would work with other agencies to source for funds to complete the project by next year.
The Minister noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had shown the political will to complete the East-West road, which was started by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration. He commended Buhari for releasing funds for the project and hinted that the contractors had already been mobilised to site. He said that government’s effort to see it completed was because of the importance of the road to the country’s economy.
Speaking on behalf of the communities along the East-West road, representative of the traditional rulers, Chief B.P. Festus, and the leader of Ogoni Youths Federation, Legborsi Yamaabana, thanked President Buhari for his renewed commitment towards the completion of the road. He pledged the people’s total support to its timely completion.
Conducting the minister round the Okuru bridge in Alito, the Chairman of Eleme Council, Philip Okparaji, lamented the state of the bridge, which he said was constructed in 1956, but was in serious state of dilapidation.
According to him, the road and bridge, which lead to Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Rivers states, needed urgent attention and appealed to the Federal Government to expedite action on the road and bridges as they were important to multinational oil and gas companies in the Niger Delta.
At the event, the Chairman of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), South South Zone, Dr. Joseph Obele, hailed Akpabio for his zeal in getting the road completed and commended Buhari for the reform in the oil sector, especially the removal of oil subsidy and deregulation of the petroleum sector.
“The subsidy was a racket to a cabal, and the president has taken a bold step by removing the subsidy. We want to appeal to our brothers in the labour unions to shelve the proposed strike and engage in dialogue and negotiations,” he said.