…orders release of gas flare penalty fine to HOSTCOM
By Onome Oghenetega
The federal government says N100 billion has been approved for the completion of sections 1 to 4 (Delta to Akwa Ibom state), of the East West Road project.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, disclosed this at a meeting with the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM), in Abuja, as contained in a statement signed by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Stephen Kilebi, Tuesday.
He also announced that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has directed that the Gas Flare Penalty Fine being requested by the host communities, be released to them.
On the East West Road, Pastor Usani stated further that the China Export-Import Bank has pledged a $500 million support for the construction of section 5, which is from Oron to Calabar, in Cross River state, while the government pays counterpart funding.
Recall that a Presidential Inter-Ministerial team on assessment tour of sections 1 to 4 of the East West Road from Warri, Delta state to Oron, Akwa Ibom state, last year, discovered that contractors will need about N100 billion to complete the four sections of the project in the Niger Delta region.
Revealing that the federal government is at the verge of awarding the contract with a new design, the Minister said the submission from the committee informed the approval of the fund.
Usani added that the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), will monitor the completion of the four sections, positing that the Ministry had accepted the presidency’s directive that the funds be paid directly to the contractors from the federation’s account.
Earlier, Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Omoleye Daramola, had earlier frowned at instances of indigenes of the area, neglecting projects awarded to them after receiving payments.
Stressing that the ministry is doing its “best to see how all the communities in the Niger Delta region will benefit from government projects, activities and programmes,” he said stern actions will be taken to address such happenings.
Responding, the national chairman of HOSTCOM, High Chief (Dr.) Style Tamaranebi, who led the delegation said the visit was to get the federal government’s partnership through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
This, he said will help to tackle the challenges of various communities in the oil-rich region.