From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has told benefiting communities of the Saakpenwa-Bori-Kono Road, phase two, not to use unsubstantiated cultural symbols to demand for compensation and frustrate the completion of the project in 14 months.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony for the construction of the 17.2 kilometres long and 22.3 metres wide dual carriageway yesterday, Governor Wike said his administration was determined to deliver the project on schedule.
He said: “I urge the local residents to continue to support the contractor. Don’t harass them. I do know that they (contractor) give you contract to supply sand, security and the rest of them. If you disturb them, obviously, we will suffer at the end of the day”.
Governor Wike explained why it became imperative to return to do the flag-off, saying that the promise was made during the inauguration of phase one of the project.
According to him, having reconstructed the road from Saakpenwa up to Bori Town, it was proper to extend the same comfort and opportunities the road offer to the people in Kono Town.
“We are very happy to be here again to fulfil the promise we made to our people.
“Sometimes, when we came to commission the first phase of Saakpenwa-Bori-Kono Road, we did say that we cannot stop the construction at this point (Bori) without taking it to Kono.
“I thank God Almighty, we have signed the agreement with CCECC that is the initial contractor, to continue the job”.
Governor Wike urged CCECC not to use the rainy season as excuse to delay delivering the project in 14 months as agreed, because both the contract and the money were signed and released during the rainy season.
He said: “Don’t tell me this is rainy period. If you know the rain will disturb you, stop taking our money.
“As you take the money, also do the work now. You can’t keep our money in your account making more money for you at our own expense”.
Performing the flag-off, Senator Lee Maeba said nobody prompted Governor Wike to adopt the road for reconstruction because he is a leader who knows what is best for the people and understands how central the Saakpenwa -Bori -Kono road project is to every Ogoni person.
“Your excellency, this project is not by accident. This project was not negotiated with you by the Ogoni people. Recall we had come here (Bori) in 2014 during an activity of the Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI).
“And when you were going back, you said to me, Senator, if I become governor, there is no way I will not work on this road in my first 100 days in office. Sincerely, this road was awarded within the first 100 days in office of the governor of Rivers state.
“This road is world class. For those of you who are not frequent in Abuja and overseas, what you see here is what you see overseas, and in Abuja, done by the federal government. The governor has a very high sympathy for the Ogonis”.
Providing the description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Elloka Tasie-Amadi said an irrevocable standing payment order has been signed to ensure that lack of funds is not used to stall the project.
Tasie-Amadi explained that the second phase when completed will further enhance the numerous benefits Ogoni people are already enjoying from phase one.