The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, has disclosed that the Federal Government has spent N286billion over the dualisation of the East West road project estimated at 560billion.
Usani stated this yesterday when he played host to concerned members of the Association of Community Leaders of the nine oil producing states in Abuja. He also promised that no project initiated by past administrations in the region would be abandoned.
He said, “East West road is not abandoned except that work on the project is very slow. We will soon find out why the work is slow. Contractors will tell you that it was because of lack of funds. But we will soon tell you our own reasons why the work is slow.”
The minister further stated that, “Now let us be where we are. But one thing I can say is by the budget of the road, more than N560 billion was estimated and for now over N286billion has been paid, which in my view should have completed the road. I have been to Oron. In my view, it should have completed the road up to Oron because in some places, the terrain is bad while in some other places, it is not as bad.
“So, if they claim to have spent that huge amount and the road is still not complete, then it gives us major concern. We are waiting for more money so that the contractors will continue with the work.”
Responding to some of the requests tabled by his guests, the minister condemned the action ofsome youths in the region who indulge in criminality in order to be recognised or rewarded.
He said, “The mere fact that integrating them through a system that can be beneficial to them as individuals and their communities should be applauded. So, I think there has to be a change of orientation towards what is good for all of us.”
He said “So, on this pipeline vandalisation, we hope that as we are working on the framework, it will get to a point where we will involve the community leaders and the communities, and probably associations. We will have the reason t invite you and discuss together.
Pastor Uguru Usani stated that’ I want to point at something; you are aware that in the north east, we hear hunters rose up to the occasion to defend their communities against Boko Haram insurgents. And they are doing quite well we expect same from our people”
The minister further warned that “We don’t expect you to carry arms because carrying arms to attack anybody will mean killing ourselves. But we can say if a traditional ruler in a community says anybody who does this offends our community, we know that community leaders in the organised communities their voice is very strong.
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