By Egufe Yafugborh

GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and former Cross River State governor, Mr Donald Duke, yesterday re-echoed the lingering anger among people of Niger Delta over neglect of the East-West Road and other critical infrastructure in the region by successive Federal Governments.

Wike and Duke, who was his guest at the flag-off of the Rivers government project to reconstruct 7.2km Alode-Onne Road and 3km internal roads in Alode, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers, wondered why a zone that generates huge revenue into the federal coffers would suffer such neglect.

The Rivers governor in his reflection on the development further lashed the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and former Nigerian Ambassador, Orji Ngofa, an Eleme son, for failing to attract development to the area while working for the Federal Government.

Wike said his administration has been deliberately creating alternative roads through Woji and Eleme Towns into Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone to encourage substantial industrial activities and advance the Rivers economy.

He said: “This is the economic hub of the state. Therefore, everything must be done to make sure more economic activities are attracted here. Opening all these roads will, of course, give companies the hope that one day the Federal Government will remember the East-West Road.

“Look at the only seaport (Onne) we have that is employing our youths, while we had a Minister of Transportation and Orji was an ambassador, what happened? They killed our seaport.”

Former Governor Duke while performing the project flag-off said it takes a man like Wike, who loves his people and desires gains of development for them to set out 23 days flagging off projects at the twilight of his administration.

Duke regretted that critical roads to connect seaports to industrial companies are not constructed and maintained, a bad culture, he noted, that frustrates evacuation of goods to the market and for export, thereby making the county lose massive revenue.

He said: “Unfortunately, there is a complete disregard for the critical sectors of our economy. That you cannot have ingress or egress out of Eleme is a sad thing to say. Ordinarily, this should be a national concern. You cannot cut your nose to spite your face.

“This is what Nigeria does all the time. Forget the politics, forget what party is leading. Forget who the governor is, but you get massive revenues from the investments that are in these areas and you ignore evacuation.”

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