From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government has called for a tripartite funding arrangement to expedite action on the completion of Akenfa Bridge project awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission since 2009.
The deputy governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo stated this during a meeting with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and representatives of Akenfa Community in Government House, Yenagoa.
According to the Senior Special Assistant on Media to Ewhrudjakpo, Mr Doubara Atasi, the proposed funding arrangement is expected to involve SPDC, NDDC and the state government.
The statement quoted the deputy governor to have stated that when completed, the bridge, which is being built across the Epie Creek, will link Akenfa 1 & 2 communities, and also serve as a link to the Igbogene-Government House Gateway Road currently under construction by the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC).
He lamented the drowning of residents of the area in the Epie Creek during the floods due to the inability of the NDDC to complete the project after more than a decade of its award to USTAFA Construction Company.
Ewhrudjakpo who stressed the importance of the project expressed readiness of the present administration to contribute towards the completion of the Bridge to alleviate the sufferings of the people.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo used the opportunity to commend the Akenfa Community for their peaceful disposition, especially for heeding government’s advice of allowing MORPOL, an Oil servicing company, to continue its work on a Shell pipeline project in their area.
His words, “We are suggesting a tripartite funding arrangement involving NDDC, Shell and the state government like we did on the Ogbia-Nembe and Etegwe-Tombia road projects, where refunds were made to the state government after completion of the projects.
“We are not making this suggestion because we have enough money. No, we are making it because that project is very strategic and important not only to the people of Akenfa Community but to the state in general.
“We are now constructing the Ecumenical Centre (Igbogene)-Government House stretch of the Gateway Road. If that bridge is completed, it will now serve as a spur so that those who want to cross over to other side of Akenfa can do so with ease.
“Another nagging problem is the drowning or loss of lives every year in that area due to the high current during the floods following the construction works done there. We can’t afford to allow this loss. So, we attach urgency to the completion of the bridge.”