Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, yesterday, handed over the completion of the East-West road Section 1-4 to the Ministry of Works and Housing.
Minister in charge of the Ministry, Godswill Akpabio, who disclosed this in Abuja during the handover, said the move was to ensure speedy completion of the project and meeting the objectives of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said: “It is with great pleasure to us today in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, to hand over the Section 1-4 of the East West Road to the Works and Housing Ministry as demanded by the people of Ogoni. I can say that we are handing over this project at over 80 per cent completion level.
“The people of the region can now travel from Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital to Yenogoa, within minutes and that was not the case before we came into office.
“There were impediments on the road, which were not in the original plan. There was, therefore, the need to extend the road with a six-lane layout, hence the issue of compensation arose and we mobilised funds to pay the owners of lands and property on the right of way.”
The former minority leader of the Senate stated further that though the road project had been handed over to the Ministry of Works and Housing, relevant officials of the Niger Delta Ministry would be available to render their support and share experiences with their counterparts in the Works ministry concerning the road.
“Our field officers in the Ministry are available for any assistance and information as it concerns the road. We will continue to work together to ensure the East-West Road is completed and commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We are also handing over the N10.4 billion Sukuk Cheque that was given to our Ministry by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for the East-West Road to the Ministry of Works and Housing for the commencement of work and not for payment of old debts,” Akpabio stated.
Responding, Minister, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, recalled that 13 years ago in 2009, it was the decision of the Federal Government to transfer the East-West Road project (initially handled by the Ministry of Works) to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, noting that currently President Buhari has directed that the project be supervised by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
He disclosed that his counterpart has given him a detailed brief on the progress and challenges of the road project with documents to back it up.