By Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Davies Iheamnachor
ABUJA—THE Federal Government, yesterday, said that the East-West Road which was conceived by the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006 at the cost of N211 billion, was billed to fail from its conception.
It will be recalled that the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration increased the contract sum of the road project to N762 billion.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Uguru Usani, said yesterday, that despite the huge sum of about N300 billion sunk into the project, the level of work so far done was not encouraging.
This came as the Federal Executive Council, FEC, has approved N16 billion for the construction of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, headquarters to stop the rent the commission has been paying which amounted to N2 billion in the past 10 years.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC has urged the Federal Government to clear all outstanding debts owed the commission.
The Committee made the appeal yesterday, during a courtesy call on the Managing Director of NDDC, Mr Nsima Ekere, at the commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Speaking, the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Nicholas Mutu, said that the call was to give more strength to the development drives of the commission, adding that the visit was part of its oversight function to inspect project sites.
Mutu promised that the committee will support the NDDC through regular engagements to enhance its performance, expressing displeasure with the debts owed the NDDC by the Federal Government and other agencies that contribute to its funding.
Meanwhile, briefing State House correspondents after the weekly FEC meeting in Abuja, Niger Delta Affairs Minister said already his ministry was compiling names of contractors involved in the shoddy work, adding that about 30 contractors will soon be taken to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for prosecution.
He said: “I have said that East-West road was designed to fail and we are doing everything to correct that concept. We have spent N300 billion on the East-West road and yet the project has not made much progress.
“I am doing a review of the entire contract of the East-West road because without that nothing will ever happen on that road talkless of completion. If you have spent N300 billion and you are where you are, then the design, negotiations, contract everything was wrong.”