By Chris Ochayi
ABUJA – The Federal Government, yesterdays, announced that it has concluded arrangements with the Chinese NEXIM Bank to fund the completion of the East West highway dualization project.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, who revealed this while inaugurating the three additional members of the Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in Abuja, said the project was listed among priority projects of the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Pastor Usani also disclosed that the Federal Executive Council, FEC, had just approved the re-award of Section V of the East-West road from Oron to Calabar.
He said, the East-West road alone had a budgetary allocation of N22 billion in the 2018 Budget, which he said was the highest ever in the last one decade of the establishment of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
The inauguration of three additional members of the Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, was in response to the yearnings of the governors and the people of some States in the Niger Delta region whose positions have been vacant in the membership of the board since November, 2016.
Pastor Usani explained during the ceremony that the inclusion of the remaining three members from Ondo, Abia and Imo States in the board was to guarantee equal representation and even development of the various States in the Niger Delta region.
The three new members of the board were: Hon. Chuka Ama Nwauwa (Imo), Mr. Nwogu N. Nwogu (Abia) and Mr. Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa (Ondo).
He called for openness in the administration of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. He stressed that the Ministry will not interfere with the internal administration of the agency.
The minister charged the inaugurated members of the board: “Your performance has to be multiple times better to get the public convinced about your activities.”
In his remarks earlier, the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Omoleye Daramola expressed delight for the inclusion of Ondo State and other two states in the board membership.
He charged the Board to carry the Ministry along in all its activities for the development of the Niger Delta region and not to act independently from the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs which had the task of supervising the NDDC.
Also in his remarks, the Chairman, Niger Delta Development Commission Governing Board, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and the National Assembly, in ensuring a complete representation of all the nine states in the Niger Delta region on the board.
“I have been nervous over the exclusion of other three states from the board since November, 2016,” he added.
Senator Ndoma-Egba called for the establishment of an advisory council consisting of the governors of the nine states in the region and also the need for a Presidential monitoring committee to enable the board operate optimally.
Speaking on behalf of the newly inaugurated members, Hon. Chuka Ama Nwauwa, who said they were not ignorant of the task ahead of them, pledged the cooperation of the new members with the chairman and other members of the NDDC Board and also that they would put in their best in ensuring the development of the oil-rich Niger Delta region.