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The Federal Government has been urged to take responsibility for the development of the Niger Delta region by refunding funds spent on infrastructure in the area. Former Secretary to the Bayelsa State Government and Coordinator of the National Think-Tank, Professor Steve Azaiki, stated this when he accompanied the Rivers State Deputy Governor on an inspection of the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road projects yesterday.

Expressing delight on the pace of work on the project, Prof. Azaiki, who is also a Visiting Fellow of the Institute of Petroleum Studies, University of Port Harcourt, said “The Federal Government should take responsibility for the development of the Niger Delta region and refund the monies spent on road projects in the area.”

Commending the Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and his deputy, Engr. Tele Ikuru, for the development initiatives ongoing in the State, Prof. Azaiki, who is also the country President of the World Environmental Movement for Africa (WEMFA), Nigeria, urged the people of the State to support the present administration in its efforts at bringing the dividends of democracy to the people.

“I want to commend the Rivers State Governor and his deputy for the development initiatives they have embarked upon. Projects of this nature answer the question of the development of the Niger Delta region and what the governors in the region are doing with the allocation given to them” he said and urged the government to ensure development spreads to the rural areas.

Responding, the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Engr. Tele Ikuru, reiterated the State Government’s determination deliver on its promises and uplift the living standards of the people by completing the project.

Impressed by the present state of the project in which the Ebukuma Bridge on the Andoni axis is almost completed while the Opobo axis is within the precincts of Kalaibiama community, the State Deputy Governor explained that despite challenges faced by the construction firm, Rivigo JV Nigeria Limited, the road will soon begin to serve the needs of the Andoni and Opobo communities.

Speaking, the site manager, Mr. Leyira Kamanu, assured on the quality of the project, saying “the job is being done according to specifications and the bridges are expected to have a life span of 100 years,” adding that the road spanning 37 kilometers and covering 17 communities is expected to be completed on or before 2011.

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