The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has rallied support for the completion and successful management of the N1 trillion East-West road project that runs through the heart of the oil rich Niger Delta region.
Akpabio who spoke in Abuja at the inaugural virtual meeting of counterparts on the complementary programme for the East-West project on Thursday reiterated federal government commitment to ensure the safety, efficiency and economic viability of the road and return on investment is guaranteed.
A statement by the Ministry’s Director, Press and Public Relations, Patricia Deworitshe, said the Minister noted that the huge cost of the construction of the road was due to the nature of the terrain and magnitude of the project.
He explained that it was also logical that an investment of this magnitude should elicit further attention for its management beyond just construction.
According to him, “the Ministry has put together this initiative to rally all counterparts to combine all efforts to providing befitting management structure for the road corridor. It is based on the clear comprehension that all the States along this corridor have a germane role to play in the planning, development and management of their respective domains and that the actions and inactions of any will ultimately affect the corridor”.
Akpabio further explained that owning to the experience on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and other major highways in the country the collective task of the counterpart team is to ensure that the highway corridor is efficient, safe and economical in the short, medium and long term.
“Therefore, it is critical and compelling that the Ministry urgently and proactively takes steps to guarantee the Road corridor to deal with the envisaged challenges of settlement, growth and human activities along the route”.
Members of the counterpart team are Mr. Olalekan Lana (FMW&H), Engr. I. Y. Danlele (FMW&H) Mrs. Ehigie Agalasi (FMT), Chief Arthur Akpowowo Hon. Commissioner, (representative of Govt. of Delta State) Tpl. Benson Diriyai ((ML&HD) representative of Bayelsa State Govt., Barr. Erastus C Awortu jp (representative of River State Govt.), Engr. Ime Sudnay Akpan (representative of Govt. of Akwa Ibom State), Mr. Patrick Agbe consultant to Cross River State Govt. Engr. Patrick Okereafor (MNDA), Tpl. Olufemi Oloruntola (MNDA), Engr. Osahon Idemudia (MNDA)
In his remarks, the Minister of State, MNDA, Senator Omotayo Alasoadura, said that the East West road corridor will attract development of human settlement and economic activities towards it when completed and the Ministry under its current leadership is desirous of turning around the fortunes of the Niger Delta Region (NDR) for the better.
He said that complementary programme for the East-West road is one of the many initiatives of this current resolve to elicit partnership for better result.
In his words, “the East West road is our prime asset and our duty is to ensure that we all play our parts creditably in its upkeep and management.”
Earlier, in his welcome remarks, the Permanent Secretary, MNDA, Dr. Babayo Ardo reiterated that the inaugural meeting aimed at evolving an enduring management approach for the East-West Road Corridor being constructed by the Ministry.
The project which is dual carriage, four lane way, spans about 361km across five states of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom and Cross Rivers is designed to function as the regional spine on the East–West axis to provide unimpeded movement of goods, services and passengers.
“The purpose of the programme is to ensure that the right of way is protected and insulated as much as possible from adjoining development and thus provide safety,” he said.