East-West road project: We will put things in order– Minister of Niger Delta

The East-West road project in the Niger Delta will be revived as measures are being taken by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to correct its faulty execution, the Minister of Niger Delta, Usani Usani, has said.

Usani made this known on Wednesday while briefing state house correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

The minister said, “The East-West road is a project that has been messed up from inception, naturally designed to fail by all the agreements and designed concepts that we have seen. And here we are making sure that we put things in order so that we can see the terminal point of that project.”

“If the project started more than a decade ago and in 24 months, we have made the progress we have made on that project, correcting even the construction deficits in the area, then I think you should be able to appreciate what we are doing.

“The Niger Delta region has a prime position in our preference to develop the area and so there are no substitutes. So, even if we are not going to do the NDDC headquarters it doesn’t mean we will complete the East-West road. There are all important and I want you to get that into your mind.

“I have said East-West road was designed to fail and we are doing everything to correct that concept. Which means if it was designed to fail it was gone but now it’s being revived.”

Usani further said, “I’m doing a review of the entire contract of the East West road because without that nothing will ever happen on that road talk less of completion. If you have spent N300 billion and you are where you are then… the design, negotiations, contract, everything is wrong.

“Right now, I have gotten some of these contracts and I’m sending them to the EFCC, not just for the East-West road. I have got a minimum of 30 to 40 contractors that I am sending to EFCC. On the East-West road, I have taken a private consultant to review the whole cost, so some contractors will obviously refund money for which the present cost will be discounted.”

The administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo awarded the East-West road at N211 billion in 2006 but the government of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan raised it to N726 billion, according to The Cable.

The 675km dual-carriage road, which stretches from Cross River to Delta, is designed to open up the entire Niger Delta states linking all major oil towns, beginning from Oron, Uyo to Calabar and the Atlantic Ocean, up to Itu and Eket in Akwa Ibom, Port Harcourt and Ahoada (Rivers), Kaiama (Bayelsa), and Warri (Delta), up to Benin.