Rivers, multinational companies kick off N3b repair work on East-West road
Worried by the delay in completing the East West road by the Federal Government, Rivers State government and some multinationals yesterday commenced rehabilitation of a portion of the expressway at an estimated cost of N3 billion.
Governor Nyesom Wike, has however threatened to disrupt the operations of Indorama Petrochemical Company if it fails to pay N500 million it allegedly pledged to contribute for the rehabilitation of the road which the Ministry of Niger Delta originally awarded to Israeli construction giant, RCC.
The job is essentially maintenance of the dilapidated portion on both lanes of the East-West road from Eleme junction in Port Harcourt to Onne exit point, a distance of six kilometers. The emergency work on the abandoned road which has been a source of pain or nightmare to motorists, companies operating in the Oil and Gas Free Zone, Onne and commuters, commenced yesterday, and it is expected to be completed within two months.
Worried about the man hour lost daily on the road, Wike held a meeting with strategic multinational companies, including Intels, Indorama, West Africa Containers Terminal, Port Harcourt Refining Company and the Nigeria Ports Authority operating in the Onne axis on how to rehabilitate the failed road and it was agreed to collectively contribute N3 billion for the job.
Before the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the state government and the companies yesterday, Wike had frowned at the alleged failure of Indorama Petrochemical to pay the N500 million it pledged as its contribution for the rehabilitation of the road which has been dilapidated for the past six years. He threatened to disrupt the operation of the firm and others that renege on their commitment.
Speaking during the kick off of the rehabilitation work, Governor Wike, said he was elected to solve problem and one of the nagging problems threatening the economy of Rivers State is the deplorable condition of the East -West road. He argued that if the previous government had taken the initiative to mobilise the private sector before now, the problem associated with the poor state of the road would have been a thing of the past.
The governor lamented the neglect of a strategic state like Rivers which is one revenue sources of the company. He said it was unacceptable for anyone to travel from Port Harcourt to Eleme for three hours when ideally it should not take more than 20 minutes. He expressed optimism that when the road is rehabilitated, it will help to reduce armed robbery and kidnapping.
According to Wike, the people of the state have suffered due to the poor state of the road and the state government cannot wait for Federal Government to fix the road. “We cannot wait for the Federal Government, we have to do it ourselves. Until the Federal Government comes, we will not die. We will survive”.
The contract sun was shared or allocated by the governor as follows: Integrated Logistics Limited (N1 billion), Indorama Petrochemical (N500million), West African Container Terminals (N500 million), Rivers State government (N300 million), Port Harcourt Refining Company (N300 million), Nigerian Ports Authority (N200 million), and Oil and Gas Free Zone (N200 million).
The parties agreed to mobilise RCC with N1.5 billion of the contract price which is N3 billion. Already, RCC has mobilised to site and has commenced rehabilitation work.
The parties have also set up a committee to monitor and advise on the rehabilitation work.Governor Wike stated that the balance of 50 percent contract price will be paid to RCC upon 80 percent completion of the work.