There was celebration in Nembe and Brass Local Government Areas of Bayelsa State as the long-awaited road project linking both riverine councils was flagged off by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, at Nembe.
The project, which is one of the three senatorial roads in the State, had been on the drawing board of successive administrations in the country from the colonial era in the 1940s.
The Governor Douye Diri administration, which made it one of its campaign promises to the people of the area, revived the project with the first phase of 21km and 10 bridges awarded to Setraco Nigeria Limited for N54.1billion.
The Tide gathered that the road when completed will open up the Brass Island, which has key national economic assets such as the Agip oil export terminal, the ongoing Brass Liquefied Natural Gas, and the Brass Fertiliser and Petrochemical projects.
Fashola, who was represented by the Director of Highways (South South), Mr. Godwin Eke, commended Governor Diri for commencing the project.
He said his ministry will leverage on the government’s current tax credit scheme with the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) to the advantage of the project, emphasising that road development was another way of delivering prosperity to the people and congratulated the State Government on the strides achieved.
In his address, Governor Diri said the road had suffered several setbacks but that his administration was determined to bring to an end the sufferings of the people of Nembe and Brass in the hands of sea pirates and kidnappers.
The Governor lamented that steps initiated by his government to benefit from the Federal Government tax relief scheme through the Nigerian Agip Oil Company and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum resources were frustrated by some forces at the centre.
He noted that as a government committed to serving the people, it commenced the bidding process for suitable contractors and congratulated Setraco for winning the bid, assuring the Nembe and Brass people of his government’s commitment to the project, regardless of the dwindling economic situation in the country.
“Let me appreciate the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and the Minister, who did not only reply when we wrote, but also showed keen interest in this project,” he said.
“We wanted to replicate what was being done in Bonny Island in Rivers State with the tax relief scheme of the present government at the centre. We thought that part of Agip’s tax remitted to the Federal Government can also be ploughed into construction of the Nembe-Brass road.
“Unfortunately, the reply we got from Agip was not encouraging. We, however, resolved that with or without Agip or any other person, this road must commence this year.
“We have all heard the history of this road dating back to the pre-independence era. I have also been told that even our former President, our own son, awarded the project for this same road for clearing.
“This road has suffered several setbacks. No wonder you find all the traditional leadership of Nembe present here today. That tells you the importance the people of Nembe Kingdom attach to this road. For us as a government, ours is to serve our people. These are the legacy projects that will speak for us and our children”, Governor Diri said.
The Bayelsa helmsman called on the youths and other stakeholders to take the project as their own and protect it, emphasizing the economic advantage of the road to the local economy as well as its attendant benefits to the nation at large.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Moses Teibowei, said the road will attract large investment to the Brass Island, which had the potential of an economic free trade zone and transform the area to an economic and tourism hub of the State.
Teibowei noted that the project was divided into three phases with the first phase commencing from Nembe to Saint Nicolas River, while the second phase will be a 600metre bridge crossing the river, and the third phase will be from the bridge to Twon-Brass.
Also, the Deputy Managing Director of Setraco Nigeria Limited, Mr. Ziad Muonanse, thanked the Governor for the confidence reposed in his company for construction of major roads in the styate, assuring that the company would deliver on the project to the highest of standards and within the stipulated time.
In a goodwill message, the Amanyanabo of Nembe, King Edmund Daukoru, expressed gratitude to Governor Diri for bringing to fruition a dream that had long been on their minds.
Also speaking, the Amanyanabo of Opu-Nembe, King Josiah Biobelemoye, described Diri as a true reflection of a miracle to the people of Nembe Kingdom through the groundbreaking of the project.
Meanwhile, the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass and first Military Administrator of Old Rivers State, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, also commended Governor Diri for working towards ending the pain of the people.
In the same vein, his Okpoama Kingdom counterpart, King Ebitimi Banigo, noted hat after more than 50 years, their dream finally came true through the passion shown by Diri, promising that the gesture would be reciprocated by the people of the area.
The Tide gathered that the project is estimated to be completed in 24 to 36 months.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
Diri Slams Water Resources Bill
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has described as draconian the National Water Resources Bill before the National Assembly, saying it would have adverse effects on the predominantly maritime state if it is passed into law.
Diri condemned the Bill when the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dame Didi Walson-Jack, and her team paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, quoted the Governor as saying that it would be unfair and unjust to introduce the Water Resources Bill when oil producing states were still agitating for a fair deal from their oil and gas resources.
“The Water Resources Bill is not acceptable. The provisions of the bill, if it becomes law, would have more negative impact on us as we are a mainly maritime environment.
“Having taken away our oil and gas resources, the Federal Government is trying to introduce a water resources law at a time that we are still fighting for a fair deal. This Bill is tantamount to stifling us. The Federal Government is on our neck and we cannot breathe anymore”, he said.
The Governor called on sponsors of the Bill to withdraw it, saying the country operates a fedteral System of government rather than a unitary government.
“We are running a Federal government where you do not centralise resources or political power. It is where you run a unitary system of government that those kind of draconian bills can come. But in an ideal federal system, you allow the states to expropriate their resources and pay taxes to the Federal Government.
“They emasculate the states’ resources and then give peanuts to them. They still turn around to say the states are not performing. How can they perform when you take away all their resources?”, Governor Diri queried.
On ending open defecation, the Governor assured that under the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project, his administration would collaborate with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to stop the menace, as it is one of the indices of development.
He said some of the intiatives the State Government had put in place to end the era of open defecation include setting up of the Bayelsa State Council for Water Resources and approval of N250 million for the WASH project this year.
The state’s helmsman also directed the Commissioner for Water Resources to ensure that the 3.6 million-litre Federal Government water scheme at Otuoke is resuscitated, adding that the Yenagoa, Ovom and Okaka water stations had been rehabilitated.
Earlier, the Minister of Water Resources, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dame Didi Walson-Jack, said in 2019, a national campaign was launched to end open defecation in the country.
The Minister said this was critical to achieving sustainable development goal number six on water and sanitation.
He noted that an estimated 48 million persons practised open defecation in the country, which necessitated building a new culture of safe sanitation across Nigeria.
He said as at today, 83 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country were open defecation free and the Ministry was currently working in Brass and Kolokuma/Opokuma LGAs in the State in collaboration with UNICEF towards ending open defecation in the areas.
While promising to provide technical support to resuscitate the water scheme at Otuoke, the Minister solicited the partnership of the State Government towards ensuring that the six other LGAs attained the status of open defecation free by 2025, which is the national set target.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
2,219 Vulnerable Persons In Bayelsa Get FG’s N20,000 Grant Each
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, has commenced disbursement of cash grants of N20,000 each to 2,219 poor and vulnerable persons in Bayelsa State.
The Minister, Hajia Sadiya Farouq, while disbursing the grants in Yenagoa, said that the beneficiaries were drawn from the eight Local Government Areas of the State.
Faroug said the exercise was part of the Federal Government’s efforts to consolidate on the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).
She said the programme was designed by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to alleviate the sufferings of the poor and vulnerable citizens of the society.
She said the grant was introduced in 2020 with a national target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
The Minister said that 70 per cent of the grant would be disbursed to women, while the youths and persons with disability would get the remaining 30 percent.
She urged the beneficiaries to use the grant in productive activities that would generate more income and improve their living standard.
Faroug expressed appreciation to the Bayelsa Government for partnering with the ministry to ensure that NSIP was effectively implemented in the state.
A beneficiary of the programme, Mrs Pere Ebinabe, thanked the federal government for the gesture, promising to use the fund in reviving her ailing businesses.
The Tide’s source reports that the digitised payment system for conditional cash transfers was also inaugurated and second stream of independent monitors to assess the programme implementation trained.
Ambrose Alli Varsity Disengages Ad-hoc, Casual Workers
Management of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State has disengaged all ad-hoc and casual members of staff from the service of the university.
The university announced this via a special release by the Acting Registrar of the university, Mr Ambrose Odiase.
The university in the release, a copy of which was made available to The Tide’s source in Benin, said it was abolishing the category of staff with immediate effect, to better reposition the institution.
“The management of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma in repositioning the university and in line with International Labour Law Conventions and best practices, hereby abolishes the position of Ad-Hoc and Casual Staff in Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, with immediate effect.
“In light of this, the university management hereby disengages from her employment, all ad-hoc and casual staff in Ambrose Alli university, Ekpoma.
“By this circular, all those affected, are to proceed to the Bursary Department for the processing and payment of all outstanding allowances and stipends due to them by 2:00pm on Wednesday, August 10.
“The university management thanks all the erstwhile ad-hoc and casual staff of the university for their services and wishes them well in all their future endeavours,” it said.
Business4 days ago
NECA Wants Forex Allocation Prioritisation To Manufacturers
Business4 days ago
Low Productivity, Insecurity Fuelling Nigeria’s High Agro Imports -Stakeholders
Business4 days ago
Agency Puts Nigeria’s Gas Flaring Losses At N891bn
Business4 days ago
Airlines Ration Flight Operations At PH Airport
Nation4 days ago
Climate Change To Cost Nigeria $460bn By 2050-Expert
Sports4 days ago
Commonwealth Games: Buhari To Host Team Nigeria
Sports4 days ago
Club Owners Threaten Withdrawal From Aiteo Cup
Business4 days ago
Don Advocates Diversity for Economic Growth