A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) based in Port Harcourt, Rivers, Citizens Quest, has expressed satisfaction with the progress of work on East-West Road linking the Niger Delta states.
The Group’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr Chigozie Okere in a statement on Wednesday in Port Harcourt said the organisation was impressed with the quality and pace of work on the road.
He lauded President Muhammadu Buhari and Sen. Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs for a job well done.
Okere, while commending the Federal Government for responding to its demands to complete the all-important East-West Road, appealed for more funding.
He said that proper funding would ensure that there were no longer future impediments until the road was completed at the timeline set by President Buhari during the 2020 Democracy Day celebration.
“It is also our expectation that Sen. Akpabio is given the support needed to fast-track development in the region through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
“We sincerely commend Sen. Akpabio for the singular resolve to redesign and expand the road to six lanes from Eleme Junction to the Akpajo Bridge and beyond.
“This is to contain the present realities of traffic congestion occasioned by road users, particularly to and fro the Eleme Petrochemicals, Indorama, Onne Seaport and NNPC Refinery, amongst others,” he said.
According to Okere, the story of the deplorable state of the East-West road has consistently left a sour taste in the mouth of Nigerians, especially the people of Niger Delta.
“This unfortunate situation outlived several administrations that paid lip service to the completion of this all-important corridor into the wealth basket of the nation.
“Little wonder, not a few Nigerians, were elated when President Buhari undertook to bring to fruition, the desire and expectations of the Niger Delta people for the completion of the road,” he added.
The publicity secretary recalled that the Federal Government in 2020, via a statement, ordered contractors on the East-West road to return to the site after several exhaustive meetings with the former handlers of the road.
He disclosed the handlers as the Presidential Infrastructural Development Fund (PIDF) and the Contractors, Reynolds Construction Company and SETRACO Nig Ltd.
“Recall that there had been a stalemate on the road since 2016 which resulted to a presidential order, moving the project from the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to the PIDF.
“Not much can be achieved as contractors were owed historical debts but upon the appointment of Sen. Akpabio as a minister, he hit the ground running.
“And in less than one year, he was able to get the Presidential approval to take back the project to the Niger Delta ministry,” he said.
Okere said that the group’s on-the-spot assessment of the project sites revealed that work was ongoing on a massive section of the road between Rivers and Akwa-Ibom, where Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) was handling.
“Interestingly, the bridge linking Rivers and Akwa-Ibom is beginning to wear a new look like the base for the extensions has been made visible, the working materials were also on the ground too.
“SETRACO was handling section two of the road that cut across Eliozu axis to Rumuokoro, Nkpolu Junction, all the way to Emohua LGA and Ahaoda axis in Rivers.
“At the Emohua axis of the road, SETRACO is not relenting in the company’s promise to complete its section of the project before the end of 2021,” he stated.
The publicity secretary said the NGO confirmed asphalting of the Emohua axis down to Elele Alimini community in Emohua Local Government Area.