• Friday, December 01, 2023
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Senate probes non-completion of East-West Road since 2006

The 2024 budget passes second reading at Senate

The Senate has constituted an ad-hoc committee to investigate the back-to-back failure of every attempt of governments to complete the East-West Road since 2006.

The Senate resolution followed the adoption of a motion on “Urgent need for construction of Onne, Eleme communities axis of the East-West Road at plenary on Tuesday.

The motion was sponsored by Mpigi Barinada (PDP-Rivers). Barinada earlier in his lead debate said the decision of the government to seek alternative sources for funding critical national projects increased the stock of infrastructure.

This, he said, was to grow the nation, through initiatives such as private sector partnership, SUKUK funds, and the NNPCL Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme.

He said the 7km stretch of the Federal Government trunk A road, a major economic artery in the Niger-Delta region that traverses the Eleme-Ogoni corridor and also connects the South-South, South-East and Western parts of this country, remains moribund.

Barinada said despite spending huge funds on the project, such a critical national project, if abandoned would bring untold hardship and exacerbate suffering and pain on the people.

Read also: Rivers, Niger, 26 others rank poorly on budget transparency, accountability Report

He said there was a need to consider the attendant loss of revenue that would have accrued to the government given the abandonment of the project.

He said there was the presence of critical infrastructure and industries located along the corridor which include two refineries, two petrochemical industries, an oil and gas economic free zone, a deep-sea port, and many other businesses and industries, that contribute huge sums of needed revenue for the nation.

According to him, consideration should be given to the detrimental effect of the abandoned road on the social and economic experience that has affected the well-being of the affected communities and the risks posed to human lives and the local economy.

The Senate, in its further resolution, said the ad-hoc committee would be inviting the permanent secretaries of the ministries of works and housing, Niger-Delta affairs, petroleum resources and finance, budget and national planning.

Others are the group CEO of NNPC Ltd, the managing director of RCC Construction Company, and any other relevant stakeholder, to present detailed information on reasons for prolonged delays and abandonment of the project.

Other information to be provided include the current status of the contract and progress made thus far, challenges faced by the contractor in executing the project to avoid future delays.

They are also expected to provide information on measures to address the socio-economic impact of the abandoned road on the affected communities, plans, timelines, and strategies to ensure the completion of the project within a reasonable timeframe.

It also said the stakeholders thereafter would ensure the prioritisation of the East-West Road project and the allocation of necessary resources and support to enable its speedy completion.

The ad-hoc committee has Abdul Ningi (PDP- Bauchi) as chairman, while Osita Ugwu, Sharafadeen Alli, Adams Oshiomole, Abubakar Sadik, Mpigi Barinada, among others, are members.