Abuja — MINISTER of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, weekend shocked House of Representatives Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Finance and State & and Local Government with a revelation that the East-West road was awarded without design, due process and financial plan.
He made this declaration at the concluding session of the joint committee's investigative hearing into the mandate and implementation of Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme SURE-P.
Dakuku Peterside, Chairman of the Committee, described the entire process as not only ill-conceived but also wondered if the Federal Government actually intended to execute the project in the first place.
According to Peterside, the East-West road is the most important road in the region but unfortunately, the government chose a poor response to the urgent infrastructural need of the people of the South-South.
"The road has, therefore, not made progress because it is not properly funded," Peterside said.
However, the minister debunked insinuations that government was playing politics with the road, disclosing that government planned to complete the project but was hindered by paucity of funds.
He explained that with the intervention of SURE-P, the ministry quickly did a design and a financial plan that had significantly improved work on the road.
So far, SURE-P has released a total of N21.7 billion to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs for the project.
According to him, these funds have been deployed towards quick completion of the project.
"At the moment, 37 of the estimated 42 bridges have been completed, while 756 of 786 culverts have also been completed," the minister noted.
In his concluding remarks, Peterside and his colleagues promised to look into the issues with a view to intervening on behalf of Nigerian people where necessary.