The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, has reacted to a statement credited to Governors of the South-East geo-political zone that the Federal Government has failed the zone in the provision of infrastructure saying no region was left out in the present administration’s infrastructure development.
The minister said this in Ilorin on Thursday during the Buhari/Osinbajo 2019 project lecture and inauguration of ward/local government canvassers where he announced that 69 federal projects are currently ongoing in the region.
According to Muhammed “Please permit me to use this platform to rebut the statement credited to Governors of the South-East geo-political zone that the Federal Government has failed the zone in the provision of infrastructure. While this claim may have made headlines, it is totally untrue. His Excellencies were either misquoted or they were quoted out of context.
“Either way, this allegation flies in the face of available evidence. I make bold to say that no part of the country, including the South-east, has been left out of the massive infrastructural projects of this administration. In fact, a total of 69, yes, 69 federal government projects are currently ongoing in the South-east. We will soon publish the full list of the projects and the state-by-state breakdown.
“Suffice it to say that the South-East, just like other geo-political zones, got 16.6 billion Naira worth of projects from the proceeds of the 100 billion Naira Sukuk Bond, shared equally among the six zones. I have taken journalists on a tour of some of these projects in the South-East. They include the four roads being rehabilitated and reconstructed by the proceeds of the Sukuk Bond:
“Enugu-Port Harcourt Dual Carriageway Section II (Umuahia Tower-Aba Township Rail/Road Bridge Crossing in Abia State), Enugu-Port Harcourt Dual Carriageway Section I (Lokpanta – Umahia Tower) in Abia State, Outstanding section of the Onitsha-Enugu Expressway (Amansea – Enugu State Border), Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway Section III (Enugu-Lokpanta) in Enugu State.
“In addition to these roads, we also inspected the 40 billion Naira Aba-Port Harcourt section of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, a strategic road linking Aba and other industrial heartland of the East with Port Harcourt, the nation’s oil hub.
“Let me say that these projects were awarded by the last Administration which, however, failed to provide funding. As a matter of fact, a section of the Enugu-Port Harcourt road, which cuts across many states, was turned to a refuse dump before this administration came to the rescue.
“Then there is the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge, which we also inspected. The ground-breaking of the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge was performed on 10th March, 2014 but could not take of until 2017. The bridge, which is 1.59-kilometre in length, forms part of the 11.90-kilometre project. The contractor, Julius Berger, has completed the first 3 phases of the project, which have to do with the sub-structures. They are currently on the 4th phase, which is at 70% completion stage. Some 310 of the 615 piles designed for the bridge have been sunk while massive sand-filling of the approach road has been carried out to the height of 5 metres. The target height is 7 metres. The project is being solely financed by the Federal Government.”
The minister added that the South-east has never had it so good in the area of infrastructure. Saying “Had the previous administrations done even half of what we are doing now in that region, no one will be complaining today. It is alright to ask for more, but it is unfair to say nothing has been done.”