No roads in Bayelsa despite oil, gas wealth

on   /   in Sweet Crude 12:36 am   /   Comments

Samuel OYADONGHA

Though created in 1996, making it one of the youngest states in the federation, Bayelsa State interestingly boast of some of the oldest federal roads yet to be completed in the country.

These include the Yenagoa-Okarki-Kolo road, which passes through Rivers and Bayelsa communities to link the oil rich Ogbia Kingdom and the Ogbia-Nembe road, being bankrolled by the NDDC and SPDC said to have been conceived in the late sixties and is currently going at snail speed.

There is also the Sagbama-Ekeremor road, said to have been on the federal government drawing board since the early seventies, as well as the Yenagoa-Oporoma road, designed to link the oil rich communities of Southern Ijaw.

Interestingly, these roads were designed by the then Federal Military Government to link the oil rich east, central and western parts of the geographical enclave which later became Bayelsa State to Yenagoa and open up the area to commerce with a view to accelerating development in the hinterland.

one of the bad roads in Bayelsa

However, almost 39 years after take- off, work on the N10bn Yenagoa-Okarki-Kolo road is yet to be completed, while the tarred stretch is already riddled with several failed sections.

Sadly, the Yenagoa-Oporoma road and Sagbama-Ekeremor-Agge road, both of which are federal roads designed in the early seventies to connect the far-flung oil rich communities in the central and western part of the present Bayelsa, never took off, in spite of their alleged repeated inclusion in the federal budget over the years.

Although the federal government through the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), later awarded contract for the construction of the Sagbama-Ekeremor-Agge road to the admiration of the indigenes of the area, the project nonetheless suffers series of setback due to alleged poor funding on the part of the central government.

Also, the Yenagoa-Oporoma road which was taken over by the state government in the wake of the refusal of the federal government to kick- start the project, was abandoned by the construction firm, Julius Berger which then pulled out of the Niger Delta at the height of youth militancy.

The lack of motorable roads to the hinterland and the alarming insecurity on the waterways Sweet Crude investigation revealed, had been a source of serious concern to the people of the area, until the Governor Seriake Dickson administration which is conscious of the strategic importance of the roads to the socio-economic development of the state not only wrote the NDDC to hands off the Sagbama-Ekeremor-Agge road, but, also re-visited the long abandoned Yenagoa-Oporoma road by awarding contract for their construction to Setraco and Julius Berger respectively.

The governor, who stressed his administration’s unwavering commitment to access the Atlantic Ocean with the aim of opening up the state for increased business investments by constructing the three senatorial roads, disclosed that the construction of the Yenagoa-Oporoma road is estimated to cost government about N45 billion.

Governor Dickson commended the companies, particularly Julius Berger for mobilizing to site, describing them as a reliable and dependable ally in the restoration project and urged the company to re-double the pace of work in the various projects they will be contracted to undertake in the state.

In the same vein, the Governor expressed confidence and trust in the ability of Setraco Nigeria Limited to deliver on time, completion of the Toru-Ebeni Bridge as well as the Sagbama-Ekeremor-Agge road.

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