Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani has directed a team of experts to carry out a critical analysis of the design of section five of the East-West Road Project from Oron to Calabar, in three weeks before commencement of work on the project. He said that the Ministry could not afford any further delay in delivering the project to the end-users, given its inherent benefits to the people.
The team comprising of experts in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the consultants of the project, representatives of Akwa Ibom and Cross River State Governments was to analyse the existing design of the project and also to consider alternative designs for alignment for cost efficiency.
The Minister gave the directive at a Stakeholders meeting on the extension of the East-West Road Project from Oron (in Akwa Ibom State) to Calabar (in Cross River State), organized by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, in Abuja on Thursday.
He said: “This Confab is organized in the interest of the people who are stakeholders; we are here as a government living on very meagre resources to achieve results.”
“This meeting was organized so we could be educated on the existing design of the project and not for ulterior motives; my interest is the success of this administration in projects delivery,” he stressed.
In his remarks, the Honourable Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Omoleye Daramola expressed happiness that the initial four sections of the East-West Road Project from Warri to Oron were almost completed.
He reiterated that the award of section five of the road from Oron to Calabar which was the subject of this forum was part of the success story of this flagship project.
Prof. Daramola assured the stakeholders of Federal Government’s commitment to carrying them along in project execution in the Niger Delta region. “Let me reassure you that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will ensure that host communities and end-users were carried along in projects execution for the maximum benefits of all.”
He also said: “The Ministry will try hard to look at all possible options and choose the cost effective ones in executing this project to a logical conclusion within the current constraints of cash flow”.
In her goodwill message, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita who was also a stakeholder at the forum, commended the good gestures of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in organizing the meeting, saying it has enabled the people concerned to air their views.
“We need to be guided as representatives of the government so we can advise our principals appropriately,” she stressed.
Other speakers at the meeting included among other prominent stakeholders, the Honourable Commissioner for Works in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, representing the state governor, Udom Emmanuel was of the view that the project should continue with the present design. Mr. Inyang-Eyen argued that diverting the road from the existing design would cost government more funds. His Cross River State counterpart, Engr. Dane Osim-Asu, who also represented the state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade was of the view that there should be a re-design of the road project to minimise destruction of the cultural heritage of the people.
There was divergence of opinion as regards the present road design of section five of the East West Road, Oron to Calabar among the stakeholders at the meeting which necessitated the setting up of the technical committee to analyse the design of the road project by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani.
The Obong of Calabar and the Paramount Ruler of Oron sent representatives to the stakeholders meeting.
Earlier, the Director of Infrastructure Development Department in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Engr. Bukola Musiliu Adisa disclosed that the contract for the section five of the East West Road from Oron to Calabar was awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) in September 2013.
Head, Press and Public Relations
Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs