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 13 Years After, Buhari Directs Return of East-West Road Construction to Works Ministry

13 Years After, Buhari Directs Return of East-West Road Construction to Works Ministry


Thirteen years after it was taken away from the Ministry of Works and Housing, President Muhammadu has ordered the return of the problematic East-West Road to the ministry from the Senator Godswill Akpabio-led Niger Delta ministry which had been handling its construction.

The 328-kilometre road which has been under construction in the past 16 years, had seen the release of billions of naira, although work on it remains slow, a development that has elicited protests from indigenes of the region.

The important artery which criss-crosses the Niger Delta, from Delta state, through Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River was started by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

It was at the time a product of agitations from the youths of the region and was awarded initially at a cost of N211 billion, although since then, it has increased on several occasions.

Last year, while on an inspection tour, the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Omotayo Alasoadura, disclosed that the federal government had released an additional N7 billion to contractors to facilitate the completion of the road.

But following Buhari’s directive, Akpabio, has now handed over the project back to the Minister of Works and Housing, according to a statement by the Deputy Director of Press in the ministry, Stephen Kikebi.

At the handing over ceremony, Fashola said such occurrences were rare and urged the Niger Delta people to maintain the peace so that work on the project could continue.

“It is an uncommon act because it is the decision of the federal government that this project that started then in the ministry of works be transferred to the ministry of Niger Delta affairs and 13 years after, the president directed that the project be handed over to the ministry of works and housing for completion,” he stated.

Fashola added that collaboration was needed within the host communities for the project to be delivered.

“One condition for any project to take place is communal peace. If we don’t have peace there, we cannot do anything,” he said.

The minister also urged representatives of the various communities at the event to take the message back home that peace was needed to deliver the project on schedule.

“Progress has been made from 2009 till date no doubt, but unfortunately that progress is not reported because of the passion with which the uncompleted part has been reported,” he argued.

The minister further instructed a Director in the Ministry, Chukwunwike Uzo, to constitute a team from the ministry to undertake actual assessment with the contractors so that the ministry will be able to sign off on the engineering and civil construction terms at the point of takeover.

Earlier in his remarks, Akpabio said in order to fast-track the completion of the project, the people of Ogoni demanded that it should be supervised by ministry of works and housing which has much more experienced professionals in terms of engineering services.

Akpabio reiterated that the project was awarded in 2006 by the administration of Obasanjo and that as of 2022, sections 1-4 of the project had reached 80 per cent completion.

“As we hand over the East-West road to you today, about 80 per cent of t

he project has been completed and the situation today is that it is easy to drive from Port Harcourt to Yenagoa under 50 minutes,” he said.

On the length of the road, he put it at 328 kilometres, from Effurun in Delta State and traversing several states in the region.

Akpabio disclosed that the sum of N10.4 billion was awaiting release and that he had directed that the money should be released to the East-West Road account which would henceforth be controlled by the ministry of works and housing.

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