The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has revealed that the 361km East-West road project would gulp N1 trillion.
He reiterated the resolve of the ministry to give adequate consideration to ensure the safety, efficiency and economic viability of the road as well as guarantee return on investment.
The minister said this at the inaugural virtual meeting of counterparts on the complementary programme for the East-West project held on Thursday.
This was contained in a statement titled, ‘Akpabio inaugurates counterpart team to efficiently manage close to N1trn investment on the East-West road,’ signed by the Director, Press and Public Relations, MND, Patricia Deworitshe.
It read, “The Honourable Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has reiterated the resolve of the ministry to give adequate consideration to the management of the East-West road which at completion would gulp close to 1 trillion Naira to ensure safety, efficiency and economic viability of the road is not compromised and return on investment guaranteed.”
It said Akpabio noted that the huge cost of the construction of the road initiated under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, was due to the nature of the terrain and magnitude of the project.
He argued that it was also logical that “an investment of this magnitude should elicit further attention for its management beyond just construction.”
According to Akpabio, “the ministry has put together this initiative to rally all counterparts to combine all efforts to providing befitting management structure for the road corridor.”
He noted, “It is based on the clear comprehension that all the states along this corridor have a germane role to play in the planning, development and management of their respective domains and that the actions and inactions of any will ultimately affect the corridor”.
Speaking further, Akpabio explained that drawing from the experience of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and other major highways in the country, the collective task of the counterpart team was to ensure that the highway corridor is efficient, safe and economical in the short, medium and long term.
“Therefore, it is critical and compelling that the Ministry urgently and proactively take steps to guarantee the road corridor to deal with the envisaged challenges of settlement, growth and human activities along the route,” he stated.
Members of the counterpart team are Mr Olalekan Lana (FMW&H); I. Danlele (FMW&H) Mrs Ehigie Agalasi; Chief Arthur Akpowowo (representative of Govt. of Delta State); Benson Diriyai ((ML&HD) representative of Bayelsa State Govt. Erastus C Awort and others.
In his goodwill message, the Minister of State, MNDA, Senator Omotayo Alasoadura said that the East-West road corridor would attract the development of human settlement and economic activities towards it when completed.
He said the ministry under was desirous of turning around the fortunes of the Niger Delta region.