by crossriverwatch admin
The pressure on the Calabar-Itu Road linking Cross River and Akwa Ibom States will soon be over as President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the extension of the East-West Road to Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
The Minister of Niger Delta, Darius Dickson Ishaku, confirmed this at the weekend while briefing newsmen during a two-day workshop on the initial implementation of the Niger Delta Action Plan held in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
He said the completion of the East-West Road was delayed because of funding, indicating that the project which is 75 per cent completed, would be handed over early next year as the ministry was negotiating funding from the Sure-P, ADB and Infrastructure Bank.
However, the minister explained that the Oron-Calabar East-West Road was in the process of finalization, saying the design and other things had already been done while the federal government plans to obtain loan from China to fund the project.
“Jonathan at his last visit to China had concluded negotiation on the loan. Anytime that loan is concluded, the project should be able to hit the ground and start. We are waiting for the completion of the loan agreement,” he said.
Although the minister didn’t disclose the cost for the extension of the East-West Road to Calabar, he noted that the project to Calabar was mainly a 23-kilometer bridge indicating that the cost would be made public once everything was concluded.
Ishaku pointed out that the confusion between the ministry and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on project execution would soon be over as the workshop on the Niger Delta Action Plan was aimed at drawing a concert line the boundary between the two bodies, who is to do what, when and where.
“That should be able to tell NDDC where to go in and where it should not. We are thinking of handling the major an supper projects; we are hoping the NDDC should be able to handle the mini and micro projects; the State and Local government should also have their own areas,” he said.
The minister stressed that a lot had been achieved since the creation of the ministry in the area of shoreline protection, road, electrification, water and construction of 40 housing unit in each state of the Niger Delta region.
He said the challenges of the ministry are many including control of pollution in the whole region, oil pipeline vandalism and oil theft. “a particular challenge is how to employ most of the youths trained in the region.”
Ishaku expressed concern over the low industrialization of the Niger Delta region, saying the plan of the ministry was to ensure the region develop as a major hub in petro-chemical industry in the country and the West Africa region.
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