By Obas Esiedesa
The Senate Committee on Niger Delta has directed that no further payments should be made to contractors working on the East-West Road project in the Niger Delta region until it has carried out a public hearing on the project.
Senator Peter Nwaoboshi who chairs the committee gave the directive during an inspection tour of the project last weekend.
The Committee said it was unimpressed by work on different sections of the road, especially that of Section 2, where it was said that payment of over 70 per cent had been made.
“You will agree with me that they have not done up to 40 per cent of that job”, he said.
The Committee thereafter directed that further payments on the entire project be suspended until a public hearing is carried out.
According to him, “We are going to do a public hearing, we will invite the people of the Niger Delta, all the stakeholders, the Rivers State Government, NDDC, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the contractors involved, to brief us, so that Nigerians can see what is happening on the East-West road.
A statement by the Director Press, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Marshall Gundu in Abuja said Nwaoboshi declared that the Federal Government was not to be blamed for the hitherto uncompleted East-West Road project in the Niger Delta Region.
He said government has been honest in trying to help the people of Niger Delta but “the problem is not the government, it is the people who are not honest, who do not even have the interest of the government at heart, we are not very happy about it”.
In his remarks after the oversight visit, the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Daramola who said he was not impressed by what he saw on ground, revealed that it was imperative that all the parties involved looked in to the way forward toward ensuring that the project was delivered to the people in no distant time.