Fourteen years after it was conceived, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the foot-dragging East-West Highway project be completed by 2021.
It seems the Buhari All Progressives Congress (APC) administration is determined to address the deficient infrastructure in the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s main oil and gas region, and boast the economic life of the people.
The road was conceived in 2006 by the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration (1999-2007), was to be completed in 2010.
But, the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godswill Akpabio, says it was stalled principally due to paucity of funds.
President Buhari, according to the minister, has also directed immediate release of N19.67 billion for the completion of the dual-carriage road project.
Akpabio made this known during a meeting with contractors handling different sections of the road projects, pointing out, ‘’in April 2009, the project was transferred to Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, with the mandate of fast-tracking its completion, this could not also be realised due to in-flexible terms prescribed by financial institutions in this regard.’’
He notes that despite the chequered history of the project which may not require less than N102 billion for its overall completion, President Buhari in line with the determination of his administration to address the issue of deficient infrastructure in the country ‘’has graciously decided to consider issues surrounding the delay in the completion of the project with a Presidential pronouncement on June 12, 2020, target to ensure that what needs to be done is put in place for the completion of the East-West road by 2021.
“The project which starts from the Delta Steel company Roundabout in Delta State, transverses through Kaiama in Bayelsa State, goes through Ahoada in Rivers State, down to Eket and from Eket to Oron in Akwa-Ibom State, is to complete the Section I-IV being part of the two sections that had previously been completed.
‘’Section–V which covers 23km from Oron to Calabar is still under process.’’