Fashola Urges Niger-Delta Youth Against Attacks on Construction Firms
The Federal Government has appealed to several communities in the Niger- Delta region to forge a common ground in supporting the construction of the Bodo-Bonny Road/Bridges Project for desired development in the area.
The appeal was made by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, against the background of attacks on the construction company, Messrs Julius Berger (Nig) Plc in the Bonny creeks on December 6, 2017.
Fashola, who invited the traditional rulers/ leaders of the Communities on the Corridor, Messrs. Julius Berger (Nig) Plc and Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) to a crucial Stakeholders’ Meeting in order to find a lasting solution militating against the realisation of the Bodo-Bonny Road project, threatening to divert the sum of 60 billion Naira, being counterpart funding provided by NLNG to other priority projects, if the agitating communities do not put their differences aside for an unhindered delivery of the project.
Explaining further, the Minister reminded the Leaders of the Niger Delta region of earlier failed attempts to construct the said road and adjoining bridges since the 1970s. He stated that “sons and daughters of the Niger Delta like Rotimi Amaechi, in the Federal Executive arm and Magnus Abe, in the Legislative arm, have done their part to make a case as to why the road and bridges should be built.”
He also commended NLNG for the financial support and the National Assembly for approving the budgetary allocation required. He reproached the communities for the attacks on the construction workers, saying that nobody can build in an area of conflict.
Fashola told the traditional rulers and elders of the communities to allow Julius Berger (Nig) Plc to choose its suppliers and not to dictate to the company. He lamented that Isaac Boro, Saro-Wiwa and Co lived and died for the development of the Niger Delta and that their death should not be allowed to be in vain.
According to the Minister of State II, Suleiman Hassan Zarma, the communities should look at the opportunities the region will derive from the construction of the road and therefore support the Federal Government and the Ministry to make it a reality.
The Chairman of NLNG, Dr. O.R Long-John appealed for peace and understanding, saying all the communities have so much to gain when the road/bridge is successfully completed.
Furthermore, the Managing Director of Julius Berger (Nig) Plc, Kai Koehler, who recounted attacks on the workers and the vandalisation of their equipment and camp, maintained that the security of lives and properties is very important to them, stressing that the company will resist any further threat or intimidation from any quarter.
Their Royal Highnesses and representatives of the different communities took their turns to commend the Ministry for initiating the meeting. They explained why there was a need for them to meet with the Contractor, Messrs Julius Berger, citing issues such as compensation.
The interactive meeting was attended by the Permanent Secretary, Works and Housing, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Mohammed Bukar, Directors in the Ministry. Also, present were HRH Benson Egwenre, king of Ataba kingdom, HRH Barigbima, king of Gokana, Sealabo Atton, representative of HRH Perekule, Amanayabo of Bonny, Professor Jasper Jumbo, Chairman, Jumbo Major, amongst others.
For: Director (Information)