Again, the Federal Government has made a volte-face on the completion of the all-important East-West Road, a major road linking the Niger Delta states, as well as to other part of the country. Earlier government set December 2014 as completion date for the road that has seen more political statements than its actual delivery. But the Minister of the Niger Delta ministry, Steve Oru, recanted yesterday while giving an update to a House of Representatives Committee. Oru said the only “a good section” of the road would be ready for use before Christmas. He also declined to affix a date to when the partial section would be delivered despite prompting by the Committee Chairman, Warman Ogoriba. Oru attributed the delay on the construction work to the huge technical work, terrain and funding gap. According to him, the project suffered a funding gap of N36.6bn this year. He said government provided N20bn for the project in the 2014 budget, aside a SURE-P component of N30bn and another commitment of N23.2bn by the African Development Bank. In spite of this, Oru said the project is starved of funds.
Oru said: “Initially, we looked at December, but the contractors have told me the challenges they are facing. Work is rapidly in progress, but December will not be possible.