Some of the 44 infrastructural development projects approved for the Niger Delta region by the Federal Government are yet to take off four months after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on September 12, 2012 awarded the contracts

In some of the six states benefitting from the projects worth N56.922 billion, the communities are unaware of their existence. The projects, which are located in Abia, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Imo and Rivers states are to be executed by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The projects in Abia State cost N6.48 billion, Bayelsa (N15.942 billion), Delta (N11.990 billion), Edo (N3. 390 billion), Imo (N6.44 billion) and Rivers (N11.860 billion).

It is only in Rivers State that serious work has been done on the Etche-Igwurita dual carriage road. Drainages and the pedestrian lane on the road have been completed while work is yet to begin on the Igwurita end of the road. The construction firm handling the project, Megado Zer Nigeria Limited was on site when LEADERSHIP Weekend visited the area.

A community leader in Okomoko-Etche, Chief Israel Nwogu, told LEADERSHIP WEEKEND that the people of the area were happy for the commitment shown by the NDDC in the completion of the road project.

A visit to Tema community in Asari-Toru Local Government Area of the state revealed that sand-filling of a section of the community has started. An employee of the firm handling the project, said the fear of attack by suspected Niger Delta militants had delayed the take-off of the project.

When contacted, Special Adviser to the Managing Director of NDDC on Media, Mr. Honour Sirawoo, blamed the lengthy rainy season in the state for late take-off of some of the projects, saying that the management of the commission was committed to developing the region.

Work has also commenced on the over N4 billion contract for the erosion control in section 1 Bende road and other roads in Bende local government? area of Abia State? awarded to? Messers? Giscons Ltd under the Federal Government’s infrastructural development projects? in NDDC states.

The first phase of the contract, which is being handled by Messrs Sedreno Construction Company has started earth work on Amoba road, Ndi gborogu while drainages were being constructed at Umurie.

When LEADERSHIP Weekend visited the site, a member of staff of the company, Mr. Paul Amechi said the work covers a ring road through Ndiekugo, Umurie, Ndi gborogu and Amoba, which covers a distance of about four kilometres. Amechi who said that the site engineer was away after working at site earlier in the day, disclosed they were yet to start work on the numerous culverts on the road.

LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that work on the main erosion site may begin in January when the contractor takes over from KFoury Construction Company, which was handling it for the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA).

At the section 2 of the Ariam-Ikot Ekpene road project, the contractor is yet to mobilise to. When contacted, the Traditional Prime Minister of Ariam Osigwe Autonomous community, Chief Festus Onuagha, said they were yet to know if any contract was awarded for the project.? He said there was no way a contractor would commence work on the site without his knowledge.

While work is yet to start on the Avu-Adapalm-Ekekwuru road rehabilitation, the dualisation of the Owerri-Port Harcourt road has taken off. The Owerri-Port Harcourt road dualisation is in two phases. The first phase begins at Owerri town and terminates at Elele in Rivers State while the second phase is from Elele to Port Harcourt.

When LEADERSHIP Weekend visited the site the contractor was laying asphalt on the median. However the drainages are yet to be constructed. While the work is going on only one side of the road is in use while the other side is closed to traffic. The work commenced three kilometres from Owerri town, precisely from Asumpta Cathedral roundabout.

Mr. Tosin Kolade, the supervisor of the project from the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, explained the issue of compensation for owners of the property close to the road was delaying the work. “Without the payment of compensation work cannot be done there.”

The Avu-Adapalm-Ekekwuru Road begins at the same Owerri-Port Harcourt Expressway and terminates at Etekwuru, a distance of over 10 kilometres. It links Avu in Owerri West local government area to Obosima, Adapalm, Amafor and Etekwuru in Ohaji Egbema local government area. On the entire stretch of road, LEADERSHIP Weekend did not see any sign of work on it. The traditional ruler of Ekekwuru, Engr. Sylvester Okwodu Akubueze, said the deplorable state of the road had made life miserable for his people. He said he was surprised to hear that the road was one of those awarded by FEC.

Also, the Permanent Secretary, Imo State Ministry of Works, Mr. Alex Nlebedim, said the ministry was not aware of any work being done on the road.

At the Imo State office of the NDDC, the Public Relations Officer, Mr. Tony Awuh, told our correspondent on phone that the office closed for the Christmas break.