…E-West Road requires N100bn to be completed
…2nd Niger bridge, 15% completed —Reps
By Chris Ochayi & Peter Okutu
ABUJA—THE House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta has expressed concerns over the high number of uncompleted projects in the Niger Delta region.
The Chairman, House Committee on Niger Delta, Essien Ayi, expressed his disappointment at the end of an oversight visit by the Committee to selected projects of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in the region, weekend.
He vowed that the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta would emphasize the completion of existing projects in future budget considerations for the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
He said, “We are not impressed by the number of uncompleted projects in the Niger Delta region, that was why we have taken the pains to go round since on Tuesday, from Delta to Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and today, we are in Cross River State to see things for ourselves, to guide us on the next budget.”
Ayi lamented that his Committee was not impressed that the East West road had remained uncompleted in spite of financial investments on the project by the Federal Government in the last 12 years.
It will be recalled also that during an assessment tour of the East-West Road by the Federal Government Inter-ministerial Committee led by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Dr Usani Uguru Usani and his counterpart in the Ministry of Transportation, Rt. Honourable Rotimi Amaechi recently, where it was discovered that it would require about N100 billion to complete the East West road project.
This discovery, according to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, culminated in the Federal Government’s directive that the remaining work on sections 1 to 4 of the project be transferred from the Ministry to the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, N.S.I.A, for funding.
Similarly, the House of Representatives Committee threatened to ensure that contractors who could not deliver based on the funds received, would face the wrath of the law, while reiterating the need for the Ministry to allocate all completed and on-going housing projects in the nine states of the region, to the end users.
The Committee noted that more efforts should be devoted by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to completing on-going projects, before starting new ones.
“We cannot allow projects to be abandoned while new ones are being introduced every year, our emphasis will now be on completion of the existing projects in budget considerations,” Ayi stressed.
In his remarks, a Deputy Director in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Femi Oloruntola blamed insufficient budgetary allocations to the Ministry, for the lingering uncompleted projects in the Niger Delta region.
Oloruntola added: “The skills aquisition centres for instance, are nine in the nine states of the Niger Delta region and the appropriations to these centres every year are not enough to take care of the financial requirements for their completion, so only one of them has so far been completed and handed over to the Federal University, Otuoke in Bayelsa State.”
2nd Niger Bridge, 15% completed —Reps
Also, the House of Representatives, weekend, stated that the much talked about 2nd Niger Bridge was only15 per cent completed since it was awarded by the Federal Government.
The Chairman, House Committee on Works, Tobi Okechukwu, gave an analysis of the project during an inspection tour of Nenwe-Nomeh-Mburubu-Nara road and Obeagu-Oduma road linking Enugu and Ebonyi states.
According to him, the project came alive, following the intervention of the House of Representatives Committee on Works and people of goodwill in the South East.
He said: “Prior to 2017, there have been the issue of PPP arrangement on the 2nd Niger Bridge which was not working. There was no strategy for the completion of the 2nd Niger Bridge.
‘’In the early part of this year, based on the intervention of the committee and people of goodwill, the project got extra attention and commitment by the Federal Government.
“What is remaining is the access road to the bridge, otherwise it will be bridge to nowhere. It will take 14 months to complete. 15 per cent has been done so far.
‘’After our intervention and from people of goodwill, everybody is on the same page and I have no doubt that the project will be completed.