The Senate has formed a temporary committee to investigate the repeated failures of government attempts to complete the East-West road since 2006. This decision was made following a motion titled “Urgent Need for Construction of Onne, Eleme communities Axis of the East-West road” that was adopted during a plenary session on Tuesday. The motion was sponsored by Mpigi Barinada, a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from Rivers State.
During his speech in support of the motion, Mr. Barinada highlighted the government’s decision to explore alternative sources of funding for national projects, which resulted in a backlog of unfinished infrastructure. He mentioned that this approach aimed to promote national growth through initiatives such as public-private partnerships, SUKUK funds, and the NNPCL Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme. Mr. Barinada specifically drew attention to a 7-kilometer section of the federal government trunk A road, which is a crucial transportation route in the Niger-Delta region. This road, connecting the Eleme-Ogoni corridor and linking the South-south, South-east, and Western parts of the country, has remained inactive.
Mr. Barinada emphasized that abandoning such a critical national project, despite significant investments, would lead to severe hardship, neglect, and increased suffering for the people. He also highlighted the loss of potential government revenue resulting from the project’s abandonment. The road corridor houses important infrastructure and industries, including refineries, petrochemical plants, an Oil and Gas Economic Free Zone, a Deep-Sea Port NPA, and various other businesses and industries that contribute substantial revenue to the nation.
Considering the social and economic impact of the neglected road on the affected communities, as well as the potential risks to human lives and the local economy, Mr. Barinada called for urgent attention to be given to the project. As a result, the Senate passed a resolution to establish an ad-hoc committee. This committee will summon the permanent secretaries of the Ministries of Works and Housing, Niger-Delta Affairs, Petroleum Resources, and Finance, Budget, and National Planning. The Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Ltd and the Managing Director of RCC Construction Company, along with other relevant stakeholders, will be invited to provide detailed information on the reasons for the prolonged delays and abandonment of the project.
The committee’s objectives include obtaining updates on the current status and progress of the contract, identifying challenges faced by the contractor in executing the project to prevent future delays, and gathering information on measures to address the socio-economic impact of the neglected road on the affected communities. The stakeholders will also discuss plans, timelines, and strategies to ensure the completion of the project within a reasonable timeframe. The resolution further emphasizes the need for the stakeholders to prioritize the East-West road project, allocate necessary resources, and provide support to expedite its completion.
The ad-hoc committee will be chaired by Abdul Ningi, a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from Bauchi State. Other members of the committee include Osita Ugwu, Sharafadeen Alli, Adams Oshiomole, Abubakar Sadik, Mpigi Barinada, and others.