FG Will Complete East-West Road in 2014-Orubebe



OrubebeMinister of Niger Delta Affairs Elder Godsday Orubebe says the Federal Government has designed a financial plan that will ensure the completion of the East-West Road in December 2014. He gave the assurance at the Ministerial Platform in Abuja during the presentation of the scorecard of his ministry in the last two years.
The contract for the dualisation of the 338 kilometre East-West Road, which cuts across the Niger Delta, was awarded in 2006 at a cost of over N300 billion but lack of funds and the absence of detailed design when the contract was awarded, slowed down progress of work that was supposed to completed in 2009.
However, Elder Orubebe while making his presentation, said with the renewed commitment to the project by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, the project would completed in 2014.
He said at the moment, the project 50% and that 740 of the 1007 culverts on the road had completed in addition to the completion of 35 bridges of the 41 bridges designed on the East- West Road.
Elder Orubebe stated that because of the significance of the road, funds meant for the construction of 12 being undertaken by the ministry had diverted to the East-West Road Project to it the stipulated .
On human capital development, the Minister disclosed that 9 skills acquisition are being built in the Niger Delta Region to train youths to acquire skills to enable them to work in the various sectors of the economy particularly in the oil and gas sector.
To give vent to youth empowerment programme in the region, Elder Orubebe said the ministry had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Turkish firm to establish industrial parks in the Niger Delta, which would consist of 5,000 small and medium enterprises in over 100 different sectors of the economy.
He said so far, 9000 jobs were created through the various projects embarked upon by the ministry in the Niger Delta, such as the dualisation of the East-West Road, remediation, reclamation and rehabilitation work and building of housing estates across the region.
Elder Orubebe said as part of efforts to assist people whose houses were destroyed in the wake of the insurgency by the Niger Delta militants, 360 housing units are being constructed in each state of the region and that some of the housing units would commissioned and allocated to the beneficiaries before the end of this year.
The Minister informed that the ministry had embarked on various programmes of environmental remediation, reclamation and rehabilitation in some of the communities affected by years of oil exploration and exploitation by oil companies, which resulted in environmental degradation.
He stated that in view of the huge resources required to fast-track development in the Niger Delta, the ministry in collaboration with development partners articulated the Niger Delta Action Plan with focus on infrastructure investment, social sector investment, institutional capacity development and multi-stakeholder trust fund.
The Minister however mentioned budgetary constraints and insecurity in the Niger Delta as some of the key challenges facing the ministry.
He particularly complained that a situation where five soldiers would be guarding a single expatriate in the field for fear of kidnapping would not augur well for the development of the region.
The Minister therefore appealed to the youths to collaborate with the ministry in its development stride by creating conducive environment where peace and security abound.
In his opening remarks, Information Minister Mr. Labaran Maku said the Federal Government paying special attention to the development of the Niger Delta Region because of decades of neglect even though 70% of the nation’s export earning from the area.
He said the 13% Derivation Fund, Niger Delta Development Commission and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs were set up to reverse under-development of the Niger Delta.

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