By Ndubuisi Francis
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has appealed to protesting Niger Delta youths to exercise patience with the federal government, assuring that his ministry was taking adequate intervention steps to address the deplorable state of the Eleme-Onne section of East-West.
He stated that this was with a view to ensuring the completion of the project by 2022 as planned.
Akpabio, who stated this during a meeting with stakeholders of the Ogoni ethnic nationality, appealed for peace and patience by the youths in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
A statement issued by the Director (Press & PR), Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Patricia Deworitshe, said the minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Babayo Ardo observed that with the review of the initial contract scope of work and unit rates, specific measures for addressing the contingent site conditions militating against the progress of work are being put in place.
Conveying the efforts being made by the federal government through the ministry on the upgrading of the 15 kilometre Port Harcourt-Onne junction (section lllA) of the ongoing East-West road dualisation project contract, the minister noted that the initial contracts for the dualisation of the 338 kilometre road linking Warri to Oron through Kaima, Ahoada, Port Harcourt, Ogoni and Eket townships (Sections 1-1V) was initially awarded in four sections to four different contractors in 2006.
According to him, it is well known that Section 1 (Warri – Kaima covering km 0+000-Km.15+000 was not part of the contract initially awarded in 2006, as it was in good condition, having been dualised earlier.
He noted that over time, the Port Harcourt – Onne junction portion had steadily deteriorated as a result of heavy axle loading, flooding and is no longer serviceable for the current traffic volumes. The ministry, he added, had to award the contract for additional works to Messrs RCC Nigeria Limited to upgrade the that portion.
The initial design for interchange bridges at Onne junction is to be substituted with a flyover bridge due to space constraints caused by the newly constructed power sub-station which cannot be relocated due to higher cost implication interchange bridge initially designed for Refinery Junction, he said.
He disclosed that a new flyover bridge has been designed for Akpajo intersection (Km. 4+975).