By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—WORRIED by the abandonment of Bodo/Bonny Road which links the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG in Bonny, Rivers State, in the last 15 years, the Senate, yesterday, mandated its Committee on Works to summon the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, to explain the rationale behind the non- completion of the road.
The Senate has particularly directed its committee to ask Fashola to explain the circumstances surrounding the Federal Government’s inability to partner the NLNG management for the urgent completion of the road project.
The Senate also asked its Committee on Works to carry out an independent comprehensive evaluation of the Bodo/Bonny Road project and report back within four weeks.
The 35km road project was awarded for N20 billion in 2002 during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion by Senator George Sekibo (PDP Rivers East) and co-sponsored by Senators Osinakachukwu Ideozu (PDP Rivers West) and Magnus Abe (APC Rivers South East).
Presenting the motion, Senator Sekibo recalled that the road project in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State which hosts the NLNG in Bonny, was awarded by the administration of former President Obasanjo for a cost of N20billion in 2002, re-awarded by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 after years of abandonment at contract revalidation value of N120 billion out of which N20 billion was appropriated for in the 2015 budget which was, however, not cash backed.
According to him, the initial cost of the project which stood at N20 billion in 2002 was reviewed to N120 billion in 2014 by former President Jonathan’s administration, adding that no money was expended from N20 billion appropriated for the project in 2015.
According to him, “To worsen matters, the all important road project was not captured in the 2016 budget, thus making the lack of understanding of the importance of the road for national economic development obvious.”
He lamented that though the road project was captured in the 2017 budget, only a meagre vote of N9 billion was earmarked for it which according to him, will lead to continued abandonment of the project.
According to him, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, had to approach the management of NLNG for collaboration with Federal Government on the execution of the project upon which the NLNG management accepted to contribute a sum of N60 billion (50 per cent) of the contract value, after it was reviewed, while the Federal Government was yet to pay its part.
Sekibo said that despite the good disposition of NLNG to partner the FG on execution of the road project, Federal Government which has business concern worth $13billion has not taken the needed steps to actualize the proposal and commence the execution of the project which after completion, would earn it more revenues through the NLNG than any other government .
All the Senators who contributed to the debate, however supported it by concurring with the prayers as adopted by the Senate.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki confirmed that the NLNG while on a courtesy call to his office indicated interest to finance 50 percent of the project.