By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
The Federal Government Satuday said the multibillion naira East West Coastal road project would provide employment for over 7000 indigenes of the Niger Delta region.
Presenting the draft plan of the project to the benefiting communities of Bayelsa and Rivers States representatives of the federal government noted that the project on completion would accelerate the development of the long neglected region.
The project, according to the proposed plan unveiled at the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Stakeholders Consultative Forum, is part of the Niger Delta Master Plan drawn for the region by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and expected to witness construction of over 160 bridges, two suspension bridges, cable bridges in Forcados, Bonny and Escravos.
In their separate presentations at the Stakeholders Consultative Forum held in Yenagoa, the Head of the Engineering Unit of the Pearl Consultative Design, Engr. Nath Iboroma and the Project Coordinator, Professor Abiye Braide, said though the construction of the coastal road will be done in ten segments and by multiple construction firms, the coastal communities of the region will have a sense of national integration at the completion of the project.
Engr. Nath Iboroma in his presentation of the engineering aspect of the project argued that the project, which is expected to change the face of the coastal communities, will commence from Odukpani junction on the Calabar/Ogoja road in Calabar and run through coastal communities of Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Ondo and Edo States.
The project, according to him, is expected to create a multiple centre of economic activities wealthier business connections and give direct access to waterways that are not currently utilized.
“It will enhance the exploitation of oil and gas and promote a high sense of integration among the people of the Niger Delta,” he said.
Earlier, the Head of the Regulator for the EIA Stakeholders Forum, Mr. Stephen Asemota expressed confidence that the project would be successful and must be allowed to commence in the atmosphere of peace in the Niger Delta region.
Asemota challenged the representatives of the coastal communities of the region, to meet with the indigenes and enlighten them on the benefits of the project.
He said, “we need to start holding town hall meetings to educate the people on the benefit of the project. Let us warn them against initiating incidence of kidnap and violence to raise issue of unfounded compensation.”
“Now that we have our son as the President, the people of the region should be told that all issue should be presented through dialogue and acts of violence or threats should be avoided. Because if they stall the project, the region will lose.