By Jeremiah Urowayino
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Thursday restated the importance of roads connectivity to economic development of the state, saying despite prevailing Coronavirus pandemic, governance and infrastructural development of the state would be sustained.
The governor made this known while speaking to newsmen shortly after inspecting the Alihami-Agbor-Nta-Oki road in Ika South Local Government Area, Owanta Erosion Control and road project and Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Training School, Owa-Oyibu in Ika North East Local Government Area.
He said that connecting the state with roads and bridges would ensure economic growth of communities and assured Deltans of his administration’s commitment to executing projects that would impact on the people.
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Okowa, who was conducted round the projects by the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Chris Onogba and his Housing counterpart, Chief Festus Ochonogor, said “we will continue to execute programmes and projects that will make our people to be prosperous,”
“Despite the COVID-19 and the slowdown of so many things we are doing as a state, there was the need to go down and check the things that we intend to continue in the next few weeks.
“I first visited the Alihami-Agbor-Nta-Oki road; it was a surprised visit and the contractor himself was not on site but the workers were on site and it allowed me to have first-hand knowledge of level of work being done; a lot of drainage work has been done and some sections of the road have been stone-based.
“That road is very important because when it is completed to Edo State junction, it means that those going to Jesse, Oghara and Sapele axis will have a much faster route and that is very good for us and our people because it connects Delta with a section of villages that are actually in Edo, and then to the Jesse end.
“The road interconnectivity is good for commerce and economic development of the benefiting communities and we will continue to construct as many roads as our finances can enable us,” he said.
On the Owanta gully erosion and road project, the governor said that before now, the place was terrible as several homes had been lost to the erosion, but expressed optimism that with the work being done now, several homes had been saved.
“It’s a project of Delta State with the World Bank. This is one of the five sites in Delta and the contractor, Levante Construction, is doing well. We are happy with the work being done and he has assured us that even through the rain they will continue working to ensure that a lot of homes are saved.
“We are in the process of awarding contracts for other erosion control projects in the state,’’ he said.
He said the FRSC training school was a collaborative project between the state and the agency.
“It is a partnership between the state and the Federal Road Safety Corps because we believe that the school will have an impact on the economy of this area.
“We are providing the buildings; they will provide other needed infrastructure and provide the staffing to enable the school take off.
“Right from the lockdown, we allowed some contractors to return to site with strict adherence to the NCDC protocols and that was why we allowed the erosion control project to continue because it could have been very devastating but am glad that the contractors are on course and they have assured me they will continue to work throughout the rains,’’ the governor said.
On COVID-19, he said that Delta’s confirmed cases had risen to 106, adding that the numbers were restricted to certain local government areas while the state was monitoring the development.
“For us in Delta State, we have 106 cases of COVID-19 now but they are restricted to certain l governments at the moment and we are monitoring the trend and whatever decisions we are going to take as we move into future is going to be based on the data that is available before us.
“This is to ensure that we are taking informed decisions and having a targeted approach; that is our intention and we hope that God willing, we will continue to do our best to combat the pandemic,” he stated