The roads in the Niger Delta that produces Nigeria’s are in deplorable condition, Elder Stateman, Chief Edwin Clark has urged President Bola Tinubu to declare a state of emergency on them
Clark, who made the appeal at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, said if the infrastructure in the areas remained in deplorable conditions the situation will contribute to the continuous decline in oil revenue accruing to the government.
He lamented that the country’s hope of revamping the national economy was being challenged with the unfortunate state of affairs in the South-South region.
Clark decried the recent calamity in the region when 20 were burnt following an accident that occurred at Koko Junction on the Warri-Benin highway due to bad roads.
He said the dilapidated state of the road has a direct link to the calamity which the people of the South-South region continue to face daily due to the most inhuman situation of the federal roads in the region.
The Ijaw National Leader noted with regret that despite the fact that the region produced the bulk of the wealth of the nation, it’s impact was not being felt by his people saying that rather the people are nade to play the s3cond fiddle
He said, “We see the impact of the natural resource that is daily taken out of our soil here in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and almost every other part of the country, we are left to wallow in this total neglect, marginalisation and deprivation.”
Explaining further he said the recent accident at the Koko junction could have been averted if the President Muhammadu Buhari government, efforts had been made to look into the state of our roads.
He said , “The East-West Road remains an ugly stain on Nigeria political administrative logic, especially for something considered as signature project, because of its economic significance.
“No substantial inch of construction work has been added in the eight years of the Buhari Administration. Sections of the road supposedly constructed were washed away like whitewash on walls by the 2022 floods, obviously due to the poor standard of work done”.
“As you would expect, that road is right now, especially at the time of this 2023 rainy season, in total disrepair and a death trap where there is daily carnage.
“The connection between Calabar and Itu, that is, in the section between Cross River and Akwa Ibom remains one of the most dangerous roads in the world, even though the NNPC Ltd is supposed to have taken it
“over. Coming further down, under your government, you have gratefully awarded the section around the Refinery by Eleme Junction. For this, we are grateful.
“However, the connection between Rivers State and Bayelsa State has four major sections which collapsed due to the 2022 floods and has remained unrepaired.
“Such that a normal journey that would have taken one and half hours between the two states now take three hours and more.
“If you continue to the axis between Patani and Warri, there are at least four major spots again where the road has totally collapsed and can no longer be passed.
“The commuters now have to go through bush paths in order to continue their journey.
“Between Warri and Sapele, there are so many bad spots, also washed away by floods and this continues from Sapele to Benin which led to the mammoth death in numbers at Koko junction.
“If one may ask, what is the status of the US $333m Bodo-Bonny Road, a project expected to open up opportunities for rapid socio-economic development of the areas, even with a reported contribution of US $167m by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Limited?
Meanwhile, four years ago, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, while addressing the House of Representatives Committee on Works, disclosed that 524 road projects were ongoing in the six geopolitical zones of the country. Fashola said there were four multilateral-funded road projects, 81 under the Presidential Infrastructural Development Fund and 45 others being funded under the Sukuk bond.
“Certainly, billions of naira, from the Niger Delta oil and gas resources have been approved and expended on the construction and rehabilitation of roads and bridges across the country, excluding roads and bridges in the South-South zone.”
Clark said some of the roads and bridges reportedly completed or being constructed/reconstructed, among others, included the Kano-Maiduguri Road linking Kano-Jigawa-Bauchi-Yobe and Borno States Section II, covering over 177km.
He said, “From the information that was made available, in terms of kilometers (length of the roads), the South-South had the least with only 52.2 kilometers.
“The North Central had 1,479.9 kilometers; North West had; North East had; South-East had 122 kilometers and South-West had 119 kilometers.
“What were the reasons for such an absurd distribution? What was the yardstick? He queried.
He also added that the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, neglected the South-South zone in the allocation and distribution of projects by his ministry, in tandem with the established pattern of the Buhari administration. Even the housing units being built by the federal government across the country, we are unaware of any being built in the south-south.
He said, “Recall that when the $311 million Abacha loot was returned from the United States in 2020, the South-South was excluded in projects designated for the fund, which included the second Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressways, as well as the Mambilla Power Project in North East zone; no project in the South-South zone was listed. That scenario was repeated with the Ibori loot.”
PANDEF rejoices with King Diete-Spiff, Tompolo, over honorary awards
The National Leadership of Pan Niger Delta Forum,(PANDEF), has congratulated the duo of His Majesty, King Dr. Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff, Seriyai II, Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass Kingdom, pioneer Military Governor of Old Rivers State; and the dynamic and prolific mobilizer of men and resources; High Chief Dr. Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo), on the conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degrees on them by the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State.
The National Publicity Secretary of the Forum, Dr. Ken Robinon in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday, indicated that Diete-Spiff and Tompolo received the awards during the first convocation ceremony of the premier maritime university in Nigeria last Saturday.
The explained that the conferment of the Doctor of Education (Honoris Causa) on High Chief Dr. Government Ekemupolo by the University is most appropriate and well-deserved, given his extraordinary foresight, vision, and contributions to educational development in his Delta State.
According to him, Tompolo established Mienka Dive, a model diving institute, which helped to midwife the take-off of the Nigeria Maritime University, as well as his peace-building efforts in the Niger Delta region.
“His various efforts in creating value and contributing to the sustenance of peace in the Niger Delta, and the development of the national economy, particularly through Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, deserve commendations.
“PANDEF is likewise delighted at the installation of His Majesty, King Dr. Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff, the pioneer Co-Chairman of the PANDEF Steering Committee, and current Co-Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the flagship regional body, as Chancellor of the Nigeria Maritime University (NMU), and his admittance into the degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) Honoris Causa.
“PANDEF commends the Management and Staff of the Nigeria Maritime University for the honour bestowed on these great men as well as the impressive running of the university.”
He indicated that the reopening of the university for academic activities at the Nigeria Maritime University was one of the items in the “16-Point Demand” presented to the federal government on 1st November 2016 by PANDEF, It is, thus, gratifying that the University is alive and well.
“”We equally use this opportunity to thank the Visitor to the University, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, for the federal government’s continued support to the university.
Once again, PANDEF extends hearty felicitations to His Majesty, King Dr. Alfred Diete-Spiff, and our dear brother and son, High Chief Dr. Government Ekemupolo on the well-deserved conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degrees of Doctor of Letters (D. Litt), and Doctor of Education (D.Ed), respectively.”
Bayelsa guber: PANDEF tells Timipre Sylva to emulate former President Jonathan
The National leadership of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has urged Chief Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and all the other governorship candidates in the Bayelsa gubernatorial election to emulate former President Goodluck Jonathan
Former President Jonathan a noble son of Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta had set an example in reaching out to his opponent Former President Muhammadu Buhari with a message of congratulations even before the results of the 2015 Presidential election was officially declared.
A statement by the National Chairman Pan Niger Delta Forum, (PANDEF) Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien said, following the declaration of incumbent governor Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa State, by the Independent National Electoral Commission Sylva and other opponents should congratulate Governor Diri who has been returned winner of the November 11 Governorship election, in the overall interest of Bayelsa State.
“PANDEF, accordingly, congratulates His Excellency, Governor Douye Diri on his well-deserved re-election for a 2nd Term and urges him to be magnanimous in victory while calling on all political leaders in Bayelsa State to work together by placing the peace and stability of the state above all other considerations.
“PANDEF further commends the people of Bayelsa State for the relatively peaceful governorship election, which was devoid of violence in most places.
“We are using this opportunity to also commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the security agencies for the orderly manner in which they conducted the off-season election in Bayelsa State. It should be noted that Bayelsa State is critical to the stability of the Niger Delta region, and the national economy in general. Hence, the peaceful electoral outcome is quite pleasing to all.
“We must also commend the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, for his stately stance of non-interference in the electoral process.
“PANDEF calls on the security agencies to investigate the circumstances surrounding the reported unfortunate incident of death in Brass local government area of the state as well as other infractions committed during the election.”
INEC Declares Gov Diri winner of Bayelsa guber polls
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday declared Governor Douye Diri Winner of the keenly contested guber polls in Bayelsa State
According to the State Returning Officer, Prof. Faruq Kuta, Diri, having polled the highest number of votes and met the conditions specified in the Electoral Act, was declared winner of the election.
Diri, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was declared as the duly elected governor of the state after polling a total of 175, 196 to defeat his closest rival and former minister of Petroleum Resources and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Timipre Sylva, of the All progressives Congress (APC), who garnered 110, 108 votes.
Total number of votes cast was 291, 212; voided votes was 3, 668, while valid votes were 287, 534.
The governor defeated Sylva in six out of the eight local councils- Kolokuma/Opokuma, Ogbia, Yenagoa, Sagbama, Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw,- while Sylva won in Nembe and Brass, with Labour Party’s (LP) candidate, Udengs Eradiri, winning none.
A breakdown of the results show Kolokuma/Opokuma: APC- 5,349; PDP-18,465; Ogbia: APC-16,319, PDP-18,435; Yenagoa: APC-14,534, PDP- 37,777; Sagbama: APC- 6,608, PDP- 35504; Ekeremor: APC- 8,445, PDP- 23,172; Nembe: APC 22,249’ PDP- 4,556; Brass: APC- 18, 431, PDP- 12, 602; Southern Ijaw: APC- 18,174, PDP- 24, 685.
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