The Governor of Cross Rivers State expressed gratitude to President Bola Tinubu for appointing an Engineer as the Minister of Niger Delta Development, Hon. Engr. Abubakar Momoh. He added that bringing back the ministry was the best thing for the people of the region.
The Governor, represented by his Deputy, His Excellency, Hon. Peter Odey during a courtesy visit by the Minister to the Government House, stated, “When the first list of Ministers was released without the Ministry of Niger Delta, we felt forgotten. However, when the second list was unveiled with your names, we were relieved because you are an engineer. We often don’t see ourselves as part of the Niger Delta region because we are not treated as such. Our roads are in terrible condition, and we are eager to collaborate with you because we have confidence in your abilities. Whatever assistance or collaboration you require, our governors are at your service.”
Continuing, he said, “I suggest that those of you in leadership positions should remember that the Niger Delta Development Commission is closer to the people. Since taking office, you have taken the initiative to familiarize yourself with the issues and challenges facing our region. This is quite commendable.
“We believe that if the East-West road were under the Ministry of Niger Delta, it would receive better monitoring and attention. In the past, contractors would receive funds and then abandon their projects. We hope that this will change from now on.
“Please know that we are available and willing to assist you in any way you require at any time. While the governor may not be present, my lines are open, and I am ready to provide any assistance needed.”
Earlier, the Minister stated, “We aimed to inspect some of the projects the ministry has undertaken in recent years. It was essential for us to conduct an inspection before proceeding to execute the government’s policies in the office.
“Before our arrival, I was informed that the road from Uyo was impassable, and I received advice to fly back to Abuja and reconsider my travel plans. However, I am pleased that I chose to take the road, as I now have firsthand information to provide whenever discussions about that road arise.
“This administration embodies a renewed hope agenda because the President is attentive to the situation on the ground, particularly the state of roads in the country. While the condition of roads nationwide is concerning, the most pressing challenge in this region is the East-West Road. Previously, this road primarily covered Bayelsa, Delta, Akwa-Ibom, and others. Notably, the section from Benin to Calabar was not included. It is apparent that this omission poses a significant challenge.
“Therefore, my message is a call for collaboration with various state governments to address the decay in infrastructure and improve security, among other issues. Meaningful development cannot occur without peace, and I advocate for peace in all the places I have visited.
“Renaming the East-West Road to the South-South Road is important, but it should also be extended to include areas and states that were previously excluded. Additionally, I propose that the road’s management be transferred from the Ministry of Works to the Ministry of Niger Delta Development.
“Addressing this road’s challenges is a daunting task while it remains under the Ministry of Works, given the multitude of federal roads in the country, totaling over 36,000 in need of attention. I believe the Ministry of Niger Delta Development would be better suited to manage this road.
“Let us make an effort to encourage our governors to support and endorse this initiative so we can secure immediate and committed attention and action for this road,” the minister assured.