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Dafinone: As Heart Of Oil-Producing Region, Delta Should See More Resources Devoted To Roads

“The failed sections force motorists to slow down, and they easily become victims to robbers and kidnappers.”

Senator Ede Dafinone, who serves as the representative for the Delta Central Senatorial District in the 10th National Assembly, stated a need for increased allocation of resources to enhance the road infrastructure in Delta State, given its status as an oil-producing region.

Dafinone had offered his sympathies to affected individuals who fell victim to a devastating tanker explosion on October 1 in Ugbenu, situated along the Sapele-Benin road within Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State.

This incident had resulted in casualties and extensive property damage. Dafinone urged the Federal Government to promptly address the deteriorated segments of the road.

During an interview conducted by ARISE NEWS on Wednesday, the senator emphasised the need for the government to swiftly undertake cost-effective emergency repairs, stressing the urgency of the situation due to the loss of lives and property.

He said, “That link road between Warri and Benin has been barred for a considerable length of time, and we continue to draw the attention of the government agencies on the need to have repair work done on the road.”

Dafinone mentioned that, following his inquiry, the federal minister of works and FERMA, in their respective replies, provided extensive information about the contracts they had awarded for the repair and maintenance of specific segments of the road, however, not much information regarding the progress of ongoing projects on that road.

He emphasised, “This is the Niger-Delta, this is the heart of the oil-producing region, and we would like to see more resources devoted to our roads to ensure that the lives of the citizens of Delta Central, Delta state, Niger-Delta is improved.

“There are so many failed portions.

“Some cases, that also raises security issues where people are also getting robbed.

“The failed sections force motorists to slow down, and they easily become victims to robbers and kidnappers.”

Considering potential solutions, he stated, “I had written to NDDC (Niger Delta Development Commission) recognising them as an interventionist agency that could possibly also contribute to the solution.”

Although Dafinone mentioned his inability to disclose extensive details, he did indicate that the NDDC has incorporated diverse approaches in their 2024 budget to address these issues.

According to him, they are exploring various solutions, including collaborating with different stakeholders and oil companies to accomplish the task.

“Roads will be a major focus of their approach for 2024 as well,” he stated, “I’ve seen the preliminary budget, it’s still in the drafting stage.”

Dafinone also emphasised that in cases where the federal government is incapable or unwilling to address road maintenance expenses in situations where state governments have undertaken the work, it remains crucial for state governments to take action when they observe road failures and no remediation efforts are underway. 

He further stressed that the state government should not passively anticipate federal government intervention, as such delays significantly affect the lives and businesses of the local population.

“If there is no solution coming from the federal government or it’s taking too long, the state government should also put pressure, firstly, on the federal government agencies,” he said “If nothing is done, they should also take action.”

Additionally, Dafinone mentioned that efforts are currently underway to identify the individuals who lost their lives in the explosion, but unfortunately, some of them have suffered severe burns beyond recognition.

He said,“I’m not sure that there is any plan at the moment for compensation for the victims, and I’m not sure where that compensation would come from.”

Also noted was that the collation of property losses is something that would be done by underwriters and insurance companies in which he stated that the country is significantly under-insured, and it is highly likely that most of the property damaged were not insured.

Dafinone further addressed the prospect of rejuvenating Sapele. He expressed that during President Tinubu’s campaign, pledges were made, alongside Ovie Omo-Agege, the former Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, and himself (Dafinone) to breathe new life into the ports within the Delta Central region, with a specific focus on the Sapele port.

He said, “Sapele port at the moment is being used by the navy on loan, and it is our feeling that if we could pass the port back for daily economic activity to receive goods from abroad, that would be an amazing start to the recovery of the town that was once a commercial centre within Delta Central.”

Frances Ibiefo

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