The Federal Government has promised to complete the four decade-old N120 billion Bonny-Bodo road project.Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Shehuri, disclosed that funds had been made available for the project to move forward, assuring that it would no longer be hampered by lack of finance.
Shehuri, who spoke at the weekend at the site of the project in Rivers State, said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, was passionate about the road that is expected to help address poverty and unemployment as well as improve the quality of lives of the Niger Delta people.
The Bodo-Bonny road project which was conceived four decades ago suffered delay under past administrations due to lack of political will that led to poor allocation of funds. In October last year, Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, kicked off the construction of the road afresh with N60 billion support from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). But the government was tempted to step down the project in February this year due to lack of cooperation from the host communities.
The minister urged the people to give necessary support for completion of the project. “This project has been on the drawing board since 1971. A lot of government has come and gone, none of them did what this government is doing here. The people should maintain calm and appreciate this.”
The Federal Controller of Works in Rivers State, Mr. Johnson Fadire, noted that compensation of the host communities remained a major problem delaying the project. He explained that the work progressed in Bodo because the host community had been compensated while the delay in Bonny was caused by delay in compensating the people.
“Before you do anything in Bonny, you must demolish a lot of houses and that is why they need to be compensated because the farms that will be destroyed may be their only source of living. The people are very aggressive, when they want something, is either you do it or you will not work, and this is affecting the progress of the work.”
Fadire also stated that a test carried out showed that the soil in Bodo could not carry the load of the construction and needed to be improved upon. According to him, the Bonny/Bodo bridge which is co-funded by the NLNG is 49 percent completed and about 80 percent compensation paid.The minister also visited the Aba/Port Harcourt road project, assuring that funds would be made available to complete the work.