CEESF applauds Agba for facilitating approval of N75bn for reconstruction of Benin-Auchi-Okene road

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Concerned Ekpoma Eminent Stakeholders Forum (CEESF), Ekpoma, Edo State, has saluted the “doggedness and commitment” of the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, for facilitating the approval of N75bn for the reconstruction of the Benin-Auchi-Okene highway.

The forum praised the Minister for his role in mobilising the critical support of other members of the Federal Executive Council for the necessary and consequential presidential approval.

The forum, meanwhile, pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly release the N75billion for immediate commencement of work on the dilapidated road.

The stakeholders forum said it was with great joy it received the N75billion approval by the President for the reconstruction of three sections of the road at the cost of N25 billion each.

The approved proposal was captured in the memo for the reconstruction of select federal roads under the Federal Government Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishing Investment Tax Credit Scheme Phase 2 by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.

In a statement signed by Obasanmi Jude, the Converner, and Lawrence Isiraojie, Sectetary, the forum urged the President to quickly release the money for the reconstruction.

The forum, however, enumerated the untold hardship commuters had to go through while travelling on the road.

The statement said in part: “You will recall that towards the end of 2022, the youth, men and women in Edo Central in collaboration with Esan groups and associations both home and in the Diaspora staged a weeklong protest on the road to draw government’s attention to the failed portions of the said roads.

“The coordinated efforts led to the blocking of the road for more than one week, thereby hampering the free flow of traffic in that axis all in the bid to get government’s attention to the sorry-state of the roads.

“We must state categorically that in addition to the weeklong protest, a series of letters were written to the Federal Ministry of Works, several advocacy visits were made, placards and banners were designed for the purpose of calling government to hear our plight.

“Gentlemen of the press, we cannot recount the trauma and ordeal motorists and articulated vehicles had to go through during the period when the roads were not motorable.

“A lot of perishable items moving from South to North could not get to their destinations; many road users could also not get to their destinations as they had to stay on the road for weeks during the last raining season.

“Heavy duty vehicles carrying petroleum products could not also navigate the bad spots of the road as a lot of them fell with their content posing serious threats to inhabitants of Ekpoma and its environs.

“In the morning of the 19th of January, 2023, we received with great joy the N75bn approval by Mr President for the reconstruction of three sections of the road thus: Okene- Auchi, Auchi -Ehor and Ehor- Benin at the cost of 25 billion naira each.

“The approved proposal was captured in the memo for the reconstruction of select federal roads under the Federal Government Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishing Investment Tax Credit Scheme Phase 2 by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.

“The Exco and members of CEESF wish to use this medium to appreciate Mr President for this approval which will brought relief to the people within the bad spote of the federal roads. We also appreciate the doggedness and commitment of the Honourable Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba for his role in mobilising the critical support of other members of the Federal Executive Council for the necessary and consequential presidential approval.

“We want to also appeal to Mr President for quick release of the fund so as to enable the commencement of work on the aforementioned sections immediately.”

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