*Gov. Diri Slams Oil Firm’s Attitude Towards Project
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said his administration will begin construction of the road from Nembe in Nembe Local Government Area to the Brass Island in Brass Local Government Area of the state in April this year.
Governor Diri disclosed this on Tuesday when he received the Nembe-Se Congress, a group of the intelligentsia, professionals and other stakeholders from both councils, at the Government House in Yenagoa.
He highlighted the road’s economic importance to the state and country, saying his administration was determined to go the extra mile in actualising the dream of the Nembe and Brass people.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that attempts at partnering the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), which has a loading terminal in Brass, through the Federal Government’s Road Infrastructure Income Tax Scheme, were rebuffed by the company.
He said Agip’s response to the state’s request was disappointing but stressed that the company had nothing to lose because it would have only channeled its income tax directly to its host communities if it obliged.
Governor Diri, who stated that it is a federal road, explained that he also wrote letters to the Federal Ministries of Works and Infrastructure and that of Petroleum Resources but only got a favourable response from the former ministry.
He expressed gratitude to the Minister of Works for his positive disposition towards the project.
He said: “Our government is determined. If the construction of that road will take us three to four years, something has to start and we have notified the federal government through the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure that by April this year the Nembe-Brass road will be flagged off.
“We will publicly state the terms of bidding, the cost estimates from the companies, our consultants and our own Ministry Works so that at the end of the day the claim by Agip that this road will run into billions of naira will be disproved.
“I am not happy that Agip turned down our request and I have told them so.”
The state’s helmsman said his government was ready to work with stakeholders to keep the peace in Nembe while thanking the people for their support during the construction and inauguration of the Nembe Unity Bridge project.
He advised those in politics, who he said were often the reason for division, that human life was sacred and urged them to support the Brass Council chairman in ensuring that sea piracy was brought to its barest minimum.
Earlier, president of the Nembe-Se Congress, Prof. Godwin Agein, said the group is a socio- cultural and non-profit organisation with the mandate to protect the interest of the Nembe people.
Prof. Agein thanked the governor for completing the Nembe Unity Bridge.
He also emphasised the need to construct the Nembe-Brass road, which, according to him, will open up the economic hub of the state.