The Federal Government said, it would inquire into the 13,000 abandoned projects in the Niger Delta region.
The Minister of Niger Delta Development (MNDD), Engr. Abubakar Momoh disclosed this at the ministry’s departmental press briefing on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said, the ministry would look into the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) forensic report to sort out projects that are still viable.
According to the minister,” it is a very worrisome development in the Niger Delta and I believe that what we intend to do, by the time the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) appear, we intend to let them know that as far as these projects are concerned, taking into consideration the fact that there have been audit reports in the past.
“We need to take a look at the report to know some of those projects that are still viable. Those that are ongoing, because a lot of money has been committed. People spent a lot of money and some of them have even died.
“Some cannot even make ends meet because they have not been paid. For those that are viable and can still withstand the test of time, we will direct that something must be done about it in order for them to get their money. People that are there working are part of the region. If you pay them you are empowering the region but if you make them suffer, the problem of insecurity and unrest will still be there,” he said.
He said, henceforth, the ministry will be actively involved in the supervision of roads and other infrastructural projects in the region.
Momoh said, the status quo has to change especially as President Bola Tinubu has declared that the refineries will be made functional soon.
The Engineer said, the government would do everything possible to provide accessible roads to communities in the region.
“In the past, particularly projects that are executed by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) they are nothing to write home about in terms of roads. Within two to three years, they give way I think this time around, we try to focus on it seriously so that , if you want to build a kilometer road network, let that one kilometer be one kilometer that can last for the next thirty years. We can not continue as it used to be in the past.
“This has to be made known to all those who are involved because, we shall be actively involved in the supervision of the projects and those of you in the directorate whose responsibility is to see that the right thing is done, you just have to brace up so that we live up to the expectations of Mr president.
“We don’t have accessible roads in the interiors of Niger Delta. The Eleme junction up to the refinery petroleum chemical areas, you cannot even access the road Mr. President has a vision and he has already said that all the refineries will be made functional in a very short time.
“If the refineries are reactivated where is the road to evacuate the product? It becomes a problem and whoever is in charge of that road whether is the ministry or outside the ministry I think we will make sure that road is probably delivered to standard and so many other infrastructure in the region because the roads there are completely broken down, from Benin to Warri it is an eyesore.
“For those communities that are not accessible by roads, the government will do everything possible to extend roads to those communities. When I say government, not only the federal government, state government of course. It will be a continuous project by both federal and state government to achieve, “ he said.
On the flooding experience in the region during the rainy season he said,” the flood in Bayelsa is not a peculiar issue to Bayelsa it is common among the states in the coastal area in Niger Delta. If you talk of what we can do to help them, it is going to be collaborative efforts between the federal and state governments.
“I think what is important is that our people in the riverine areas should also know that during this period when the rains are at their peak, they should also find a way to get themselves settled in the upper land areas so that we will avoid those calamitous situations where the foods will carry our houses and belongings.
“The major cause of this flood needs to be tackled because, we know that once the dam in Cameroon is open, then there is bound to be flood in this lower area. I think something needs to be done.
“I think when we take off properly, we also need to interface with the Ministry of Water Resources to know how we can also construct dams along that route in order to reduce the effects of the flood in the coastal land areas of Nigeria,” he said
Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Dr Shuaib Belgore said, “generally the pace of work had been a bit subdued in the absence of ministers now that you are here, I can assure you that all of us are geared up and ready to give you the maximum support in other to achieve the objectives that you have come with from Mr President,” he said.