By Sunday Bassey, Uyo.
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited and its subsidiaries to step in and fix “Section 4” of the East-West Road.
The portion of the road is from Eleme roundabout to Onne Junction, and it is to constructed through the tax credit scheme.
Buhari gave the directive at the opening ceremony of a meeting of the 5th National Council on Niger Delta in Uyo on Thursday.
He said: “The East-West Road project, which is now being handled by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, is the largest infrastructure project in Nigeria.
“It is a very strategic road, connecting the country’s busiest and foremost commercial cities in the region.
“This would be expeditiously addressed, considering the importance of the road to our national economy.”
The president, who was represented by the Minister of Environment, Mr Mohammed Abdullahi, assured that the completion of the East-West Road was a top priority for his administration.
Besides, Buhari said that one of the cardinal mandates of his administration was to tackle corruption.
He explained that the report on the forensic audit of NNDC had been submitted, noting that the implementation of its recommendations had begun in phases.
“I, hereby, assure you that this process will eventually bring about the constitution of a new board for the commission, which is the desire of most stakeholders in the region,” he said.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Umana Umana, said that the objective of the conference was to solicit more and sustained collaboration with development partners and other stakeholders in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes, designed for the improvement of life in the Niger Delta Region.
Umana said that the meeting was important for the ministry and other stakeholders, as it gave the opportunity to take stock of their collective engagement, with the aim of reinventing the Niger Delta Region.
He said that the theme of the council’s meeting was: “Harnessing 21st Century Development Initiatives and Strategies for Greater Development impacts in the Niger Delta Region.”
He said that the theme also focused on the urgent need to constantly develop new strategies that could help Federal Government to reposition the Niger Delta for a better economic standing, with regard to infrastructure, healthcare, manpower development and security.
Umana said that the ministry was partnering with relevant agencies, development partners, international oil companies and other stakeholders on infrastructure development, investment in social services and institutional capacity building for Niger Delta Region to achieve its mandate.
Umana who is also the Chairman of Council, promised to publish a compendium of projects undertaken by the ministry in the Niger Delta Region.