The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godsday Orubebe, yesterday blamed the delay in the completion of the East-West Road project on inadequate funding and insecurity in the Niger Delta.
Orubebe, who met with the House Committee on Niger Delta alongside the three construction firms handling the road project, said the project has been confronted with a lot of funding and security challenges from its inception.
He, however, promised that the road will be completed by the end of next year.
Orubebe said the perennial security threats which manifests in the kidnapping of construction workers led to several stoppages at different times.
"There was the kidnap of six expatriates working in the area between November and December 2012 with two lives lost and several injured in the process which led to the suspension of site activities.
"Early January 2013, there was another attempted kidnap of an expatriate staff of SETRACO. The most recent, on January 30, 2013, is the kidnap of an expatriate staff in Warri along DSC Road. The kidnappers killed the driver and one riot policeman with another officer badly injured.
"As a result of the trauma of these incidents and the fact that the company has to engage four military personnel for each expatriate for protection/security, it has resulted in a very low moral for the work.
"It is also important to mention that the early rains experienced this year in the project area is affecting progress. There have been seven days of intense rainfall in the month of January, 2013," Orubebe said.
Nevertheless, he said, the Ministry of Niger Delta is determined to complete this project by 2014, all things being equal.
Chairman, House Committee on Niger Delta, Hon. Warman Ogoriba, had expressed concern over the delay in completing the road project.
Orubebe and representatives of SETRACO, Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) and Gitto Nigeria Limited were summoned by the committee following public out cry over the state of the road.