From Victor Osula, Abuja
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio, on Wednesday, stated that his ministry had completed more than 50 projects across the oil-rich region, waiting for commissioning.
Senator Akpabio disclosed this to State House Correspondents at the end of the week’s cabinet meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Explaining the reason for the delay in officially putting the projects to use, the Minister cited the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, which forced restrictions and suspension of activities.
The Minister also said that the Federal Executive Council, FEC, approved the sum of N500 million as variation for the completion of a road project in Delta State.
He said the construction of the road is a project of the Niger-Delta Ministry, which has already attained 97 percent completion.
“The Ministry of Niger-Delta Affairs presented two memos today at the Federal executive Council and both were approved. One was just augmentation, or variation of the contract for the construction of Bulu- Ogriagbene Road in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State. It’s about 18.7 kilometers being handled by SETRACO.
“The road is about 18.7 kilometres and the initial contract price was about N8.5 billion and with the variation price today, the contract price is now about N9 billion and the Federal executive Council today approved that variation.
“And then with the variation today, the contract price is now about N9 billion and the council approved that variation. As I speak now, the 18.7 kilometers road is 97 percent completed. And they have been given about six months to ensure total completion of the road. So, that was approved today. I thank Mr President and members of FEC for it.”
He said that the second memo was what he called SIWP, Strategic Implementation Work Plan for the Niger Delta region.
“We have about 50 projects completed and ready for commissioning done by the Ministry not the NDDC. So, those projects will be in that portal so that you can sit down in the comfort of your bedroom, and look at what the Ministry of Niger Delta has done for your state and community.
“You can also look at what Total, Shell, ExxonMobil operating within your areas have done in the last two or three years. Those things will all be there. And it will also help in planning purpose.
“For instance, you want to go to a place like Ogoniland that is requiring land remediation to give them water, if already, a state government is providing water there, you will know. So, you don’t go and duplicate the efforts.
“If Shell is providing water there, you will see it there and then, you can now divert the money into other areas that will be of use for the people. So, it will lead to holistic development of the Niger Delta area. It will stop duplication of projects and also stop false accusations.
“If for instance, people are collecting this 13 percent derivation by state governments and they are not utilising it because they are bearing communities. By the time you look at SIWP, that is strategic implementation work plan and then you go into that quarter and you look at what has the government done for the oil bearing communities in their States, if they’ve done well, you will know. If they have not done anything at all, you will know.
“That way, you can also be in a position to measure their performances and all that. So, the Council found that quite attractive and also gave approval that, yes, indeed, that is the way to go. So, you can use digital method to coordinate the developmental programmes on the Niger Delta region”, he said.