The Niger Delta Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives asked on Tuesday in Abuja the allocation of 15 billion naira to the East West Road project.
Members of the committee of the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry for the defense of the 2021 budget frowned at the allocation of 4 billion naira to all other human development projects in the region.
The committee chair, Representative Essien Ayi (PDP-Cross River) said the East West Highway had been under construction for more than 14 years.
“We just finished EndSARS, we know what happened, the entire capital of my state everywhere was turned upside down.
“The kind of devastation I saw there, it would have taken us about 10 years ago.
“If the budget is geared towards young people, then why are we going to use 15 billion naira for the East West road?
“I heard the news where the president of the Senate warned that we must be careful that if this comes to the surface again it will be very devastating.
“So Minister, we have around 300 or more projects in the Niger Delta. So how are you going to allocate money for these types of projects? It is not possible, we will not do it, ”he said.
Also, Rep. Edim Eta (PDP-Cross River) said budgeting N15 billion for East West Road and N4 billion for other projects in the Niger Delta is unfair.
According to him, I believe that most of the funding coming in 2021 should go to youth programs.
“We all witnessed the EndSARS protest, all of this was because of the frustrations of staying home from the ASUU strike, unemployment.
“Therefore only 4 billion naira of the total budget of the Niger Delta can be spent on these projects.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea; if the East-West highway has been taken from the sovereign wealth fund, then the provision for those 15 billion should have been made separately to cover that, “he said.
READ ALSO: Trans Ekulu: residents call for a change
In response, Niger Delta Affairs Minister Senator Godswill Akpabio said he wanted to deliver a road that would last.
The minister said that it was recorded that the roads built under his supervision had no potholes even 13 years later.
“Therefore, I am very hopeful of achieving the same in the Niger Delta. So we will provide you the details of the designs and everything.
“I have not allowed any variation, because I have not seen the kind of quality of work that I would have loved to see.
“There was one who entered the Federal Executive Council and I had to resign.
“I have not yet submitted a single variation, that they do the original work for us to see, because this has taken too long.
“From 2006 to date, when I was not part of the government, I used to think that the road was too expensive, but now that I am part of the government, I think it was priced right.
“It’s just that the aggregate has gone up in terms of materials,” he said.
Akpabio said that 15 billion naira could be distributed between projects and not a single one will be completed under the current administration saying, “let us just close your eyes and do something. “
He said that if that was not done, the ministry would be like the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) with some 12,000 projects abandoned across the Niger Delta after spending billions.
The minister said that the amount for the road in Section 1-4 is about 423 billion naira and the amount paid to date is about 354 billion naira.
“In my opinion, the total completion is about 80 percent. Yes, the terrain is challenging, annual rains affect work, fund releases are slow, and then COVID-19 was added as well.
“But we are determined to overcome those challenges. That’s why we are here today, “said Akpabio. (YAYA)