President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate release of N19.67 billion to fast track the completion of the section I-IV of the East-West road project by 2021 to address the deficient infrastructure in the region and boast the economic life of the people.
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, made this known during a meeting with contractors handling different sections of the road projects in Abuja during the week, according to NIGERIAN TRIBUNE.
In April 2009, the project was transferred to Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, with the mandate of fast-tracking its completion, but this could not also be realised due to in-flexible terms prescribed by Financial institutions in this regard, he added.He explained that the East-West road, which was conceived in 2006 during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, was to be completed in 2010, but this was stalled principally due to paucity of funds.
According to the minister, , despite the checkered history of the project which may not require less than N102 billion for its overall completion, President Muhammadu Buhari in line with the determination of his administration to address the issue of deficient infrastructure in the country has decided to consider issues surrounding the delay in the completion of the project with a Presidential pronouncement on June 18, 2020.
The pronouncement is to ensure that what needs to be done is put in place for the completion of the East-West road by 2021.
“Considering the disposition of the region to the stability of Nigeria’s Economy, the project will not only redress infrastructural deficient in the region, but its completion would also assist the oil industry in terms of moving goods that will facilitate oil production, movement within the area, restiveness and boast the economic life of the people and the nation at large,” he said.
Speaking further, the Minister said that this administration has undertaken more infrastructural development projects than any other government he has met and the East-West road would be one of the legacy projects of this administration.
He commended the contractors for being committed to ensuring that the Presidential mandate is achieved by re-mobilising back to site even when funds have not been made available and assured them of the people’s cooperation.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Omotayo Alasoadura in his remarks appealed to the contractors to work hard to fulfill the mandate of Mr President.
The contractors thanked the Minister and reiterated their readiness to remobilise back to site immediately to meet the 2021 target deadline.