The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani has said that the Federal Government had approved the sum of N100bn for the completion of Sections 1 to 4 of the East West road project.
The Minister disclosed this at a meeting with the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM), led by its National Chairman, High Chief (Dr.) Style Benjamin Tamaranebi, in Abuja, on Tuesday, according to a statement from the Ministry.
It will be recalled that the East-West road was originally started by the Federal Ministry of Works and was handed over to the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, when they had only completed just 10 kilometers.
At the initial stage, it was designed to start from Delta State roundabout, through Ughelli, Patani, kayama, lbehama, to Port Harcourt and end at Oron, in Akwa Ibom State.
It would also be recalled that the findings from a Presidential Inter-Ministerial team on assessment tour of Sections 1 to 4 of the East West road from Warri, Delta state to Oron, Akwa Ibom state, in the year 2018, showed that contractors would require about N100bn to complete the four sections of the flagship project in the Niger Delta region, the Minister said the submission from the committee culminated in the said approval of the fund.
The Minister assured the people of the Niger Delta that the dualisation of the road was of utmost importance to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the minister stressed that on their part, and the people of the region appreciate the importance of the road in promoting their well-being.
Usani added that the China Export-Import bank had also agreed to support the construction of section 5 of the East West road from Oron to Calabar, with $500M, while the Federal Government pays counterpart funding.
The Minister disclosed that the Federal Government was at the verge of awarding the contract with a new design.
He added that the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority was to monitor the completion of Sections 1 to 4 of the East West road, saying that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs had given its nod to the directive of the Presidency that the N100bn should be paid directly to the contractors from the Federation Account.
The Minister revealed that the Federal Government has also directed that the Gas Flare Penalty Fine being requested by the host communities, be released to them.
Earlier, the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Omoleye Daramola, decried a situation where contracts were awarded to the indigenes of the Niger Delta region, who ended up abandoning the projects after payments, he said decisive actions would be taken to address such occurrences.
“We are doing our best to see how all the communities in the Niger Delta region will benefit from government projects, activities and programmes,” he reiterated.
Prof. Daramola disclosed that all completed projects in the region by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs would be handed over to benefitting communities in due course.
In his remarks, the National Chairman of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM), High Chief (Dr.) Style Benjamin Tamaranebi, said their visit was to seek the Federal Government’s collaboration through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, in a bid to address the challenges of various communities in the Niger Delta region.