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There were celebrations in Nembe and Brass Local Government Areas of Bayelsa State as the long-awaited road project linking the two river councils was launched by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, in Nembe.
The project, which is one of three senatorial routes in the state, had been on the drawing boards of successive administrations in the country since colonial times in the 1940s.
The administration of Governor Douye Diri, which had made it one of its campaign promises to the people of the region, relaunched the project with the first phase of 21 km and 10 bridges awarded to Setraco Nigeria Limited for 54.1 billion naira.
The Tide understood that the road, when completed, will open up Brass Island, which has key national economic assets such as the Agip oil export terminal, the ongoing Brass liquefied natural gas projects and the projects of fertilizers and petrochemicals of Brass.
Fashola, who was represented by the Director of Highways (South-South), Mr. Godwin Eke, congratulated Governor Diri for initiating the project.
He said his ministry would leverage the government’s current tax credit scheme with the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) to the benefit of the project, pointing out that road development was another way to bring prosperity. to the people and commended the state government for the progress made. achieved.
In his address, Governor Diri said the road had suffered several setbacks but his administration was determined to end the suffering of the people of Nembe and Brass at the hands of sea pirates and kidnappers.
The Governor lamented that the moves by his government to avail of the federal government’s tax relief program through the Nigerian oil company Agip and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources have been thwarted by some forces at the center.
He noted that as a government committed to serving the people, he initiated the bidding process for suitable contractors and congratulated Setraco for winning the tender, assuring the people of Nembe and Brass of his government’s commitment to the project, regardless of the declining economic situation in the country. country.
“Let me thank the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and the Minister, who not only responded when we wrote, but also showed a keen interest in this project,” he said.
“We wanted to replicate what was being done at Bonny Island in Rivers State with the current government’s tax relief program at the center. We thought that part of the Agip tax paid to the federal government could also be invested in the construction of the Nembe-Brass road.
“Unfortunately, the response we received from Agip was not encouraging. However, we have decided that with or without Agip or anyone else, this route must begin this year.
“We have all heard the story of this road dating back to the pre-independence era. I was also told that even our former president, our own son, had entrusted the project to clear this same road.
“This road has suffered several setbacks. No wonder you find all the traditional rulers of Nembe present here today. This tells you the importance that the inhabitants of the kingdom of Nembe attach to this road. For us, as a government, ours is to serve our people. It is the legacy projects that will speak for us and our children,” Governor Diri said.
The Bayelsa helmsman called on youths and other stakeholders to take ownership of the project and protect it, highlighting the economic benefit of the route to the local economy as well as the resulting benefits for the nation as a whole .

Earlier, Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Moses Teibowei said the road will attract big investment to Brass Island which had the potential of an economic free trade zone and will turn the region into a economic and tourist center of the state.
Teibowei noted that the project has been divided into three phases, with the first phase starting from Nembe to the St. Nicholas River, while the second phase will be a 600-meter bridge crossing the river, and the third phase will be from the bridge at Twon. -Brass.
Furthermore, the Deputy Managing Director of Setraco Nigeria Limited, Mr. Ziad Muonanse, thanked the Governor for the confidence placed in his company for the construction of trunk roads in the styate, assuring that the company would carry out the project to the highest standards. higher and within the stipulated time.
In a message of goodwill, the Amanyanabo of Nembe, King Edmund Daukoru, expressed his gratitude to Governor Diri for making a dream come true that had been bothering them for a long time.
Also speaking, the Amanyanabo of Opu-Nembe, King Josiah Biobelemoye described Diri as the true reflection of a miracle for the people of Nembe Kingdom through the inauguration of the project.
Meanwhile, the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass and First Military Administrator of Old Rivers State, King Alfred Diete-Spiff also praised Governor Diri for his work in ending the pain of the people.
In a similar vein, his counterpart from the Kingdom of Okpoama, King Ebitimi Banigo, noted that after more than 50 years, their dream finally came true thanks to the passion shown by Diri, promising that the gesture would be reciprocal from the inhabitants of the region.
The Tide understood that the project should be completed in 24 to 36 months.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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