By CrossRiverWatch admin
The Cross River State Commissioner for Works Engineer Dane Osimasu has disclosed that the State Government has spent a total of over 20Billion Naira on the rehabilitation of Federal roads and is yet to be reimbursed by the Federal Government.
The Works Commissioner who made the disclosure in his office while speaking to CrossRiverWatch recently added that the state has made repeated efforts to get a refund but nothing was forthcoming.
His words: “Over the years, the State Government has intervened in Federal roads in terms of rehabilitation, because the ball falls on our citizenry and as a responsible government we ensure that we reduce the sufferings of our people as they commute along these roads.
“It will amaze you to know that the government over the years, and up to this government, has intervened in Federal roads to the tune of more than 20Billion Naira and other States have been reimbursed but we haven’t been reimbursed. We have made recommendations to the National Assembly Joint Committee on Finance, our position was very firm and we are expecting that there will be a way out. We have also made recommendations to the Federal Government of President Muhammad Buhari in that regard.”
On the arguments surrounding the East-West road between the State and Akwa Ibom he said, “The project has been awarded since 2012 and is a Federal project. The East-West Road section 5 kicks off from Oron and is to terminate at Calabar South, Jebs to be precise, with the 5km hull to empty into the Watt market.
“You know it’s a dual carriageway from Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom State and now emptying into Calabar. You know the kind of traffic condition that would pose to the State, so we were alerted and rose up to it and made our presentation to the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. We presented our challenges, technical reasons why that road should be realigned. It will interest you to know that from our presentation there was a public discourse between Cross River and Akwa Ibom State were we had opposite points of view.
“We felt that the road should be realigned and they felt that the road should go on the way it is and they gave the reason that any thinking towards realignment will delay the execution of that project. We said we have waited for the road since 2012 till 2016 since the project was awarded and realigning it for the benefit of those who will be the recipient of the project won’t be any problem.
“The Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs called for a kind of stakeholders meeting in Abuja and we were invited. We made our presentation and they made theirs too, based on that they set up a Technical Committee to do an on-the-spot assessment of our claims. They came to Cross River and went to Akwa Ibom too and the road was decided in our favor, the road will be realigned.
“You know our intention is to create alternative routes, just as we have the super highway project. The Calabar Ikom Federal Highway has a lot of traffic problems and congestion and has become a death trap; the thinking also behind the realignment is also to have an alternative route, the project kicking off at Oron and end at Jebs emptying into the Watt market is the main problem.
“We had to propose a new alignment route, taking off at Oron and passing beside the River across there and coming through Creek Town, Adiabo and ending at Tinapa, that would open a new vista of development opportunities for people living in that axis of the State.” He asserted.
On accusation made earlier by the Muri Munene, King of Efuts and Paramount Ruler of Calabar South that realigning the road is an attempt to deny his people development, Engineer Osimasu maintained that: “He didn’t take into cognizance the navigational problems, the traffic congestion problems, also the problem that would have ensued through compensation; huge compensation that would have been paid, he didn’t take into cognizance the opinion of the rural dwellers, he didn’t take into cognizance the internal cities walkway. I told you there was a Technical Committee that was set for both States and the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, they were all there.
“On the spot opinion was sampled of the entire place and they saw that people were not ready to leave their traditional settlements. It would have ensued into another problem; it would have also provided a huge navigational challenge, traffic problems, congestion and all several other technical reasons which we used to backup.”
Concluding he said, “That earlier proposal of the road crossing from Oron to Calabar South, there is a bridge that would have been about 13.8 km meaning that it would have been longer than the 3rd Mainland Bridge in Lagos. You know the problem with 3rd Mainland Bridge, because of the very long span there is always failings in one section or the other, either one lane is blocked for rehabilitation of the other over the years.
“So for engineering, if a bridge is that long it poses some construction problems naturally. For us, our own subterranean reasons were that if the road was constructed across that River it would cause some navigational challenges, it will distort our vision for the deep sea port. We are trying to construct a deep sea port that will carry vessels, now going to construct a bridge over the river, it would now cause some navigational problems for very large vessels to come in. We thought that and made our presentation, and we won for the first time in an issue that bothers Cross River and Akwa Ibom State.”
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