The Director of Climate Change in Bayelsa State’s Ministry of Environment, Wakedei Davidson Ere, has said that the reconstruction of the East-West Road had been contracted to several companies for the remodelling of the road after it was damaged by flood in 2022, but there has been no tangible repair seen on the roads.
In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Friday, Ere spoke on the effects of the floods that ravaged Bayelsa states and other states in the south in 2022, and the impending flood that will follow the release of the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon. He then said that it was unfortunate that the previously damaged roads had yet to be fixed, although it had been contracted to some companies to get the job done.
The director said, “As for the East-West Road, yes, it calls for concern because we have not really seen any tangible, visible effort in terms of repair and upgrading and redesigning of the road. We thought that by now, of course as being conscious of the fact that approval was given and the sections 2, which of course, Bayelsa falls into, we are aware that approval was given over one hundred and forty something or sixty something billion. Nothing has really happened.
“And very unfortunately, we can predict, we don’t need a prophet, when the floods come, if the asphalt road could be worn off by the forces of the moving water, I just wonder these particular roads that no action has taken place and there is no impervious asphalt layer on it, I can tell you the disaster that is impending, that is waiting to happen.”
Giving a breakdown of the contractors and the money awarded to them, Ere said, “Port-Harcourt-Ahoda axis (Section 2, sub-section 1) was awarded to Setraco, and we equally know the value-64.3 billion in terms of the variation and the upgrading of the road. Section 2, sub-section 2 is Ahoda-Kayama, that’s the Bayelsa axis, 144.7 billion was awarded to Setraco. And then, section 3 Port-Harcourt, that’s Eleme junction to Onne junction, about 156.7 billion was awarded to RCC. You know, these are different companies handling different aspects of the road, but nothing visible, nothing tangible is happening.”
However, Ere went on to say, “You know there is a difference between approval and release. We don’t know the extent to which federal government has released funds for this company to carry out their duties. Well, I think something is wrong somewhere, and we can visibly tell that no action, nothing is taking place, and the floods are uncomfortably close. So we know the companies these contracts were awarded to, but unfortunately no action is really taking place. And we are concerned, particularly we had expected that by now, not only the jobs should have been done according to the formal specification, but perhaps, new designs or remodelling of the roads should have been done with respect to creating more channels, more corvettes and all that. That should have been nearing completion by now.”
Narrating the urgency of this particular issue, Ere said, “Niger-Deltans have been protesting all along and calling severally- personally I have been on different news media myself, and calling on the federal government to do the needful, not just concerning the East-West Roads, but particularly, there are major solutions that lie up north. The completion of the Dasin Hausa Dam, because that is a major determinant factor of all these floods. You know, this is a project that was 82% completed since Shagari regime, and up till now, it has not been completed and it has become the bane of our problem in society, all the Niger Delta states.
“This matter is very serious. Have you imagined, if this Lagdo Dam should break loose and the dam should burst, have you imagined what will happen? No single land will exist in Bayelsa. Not any place in Bayelsa will exist for somebody to perch on. It’s a very serious matter. And I can assure you, the release of the Lagdo Dam is good. If they don’t release and the dam breaks, I think we are going to lose a lot of lives. And so, it is important to know that we have been on this message, we have been talking, we have been on the air, we have been reaching out and informing the federal government on these impending dangers if nothing tangible is done.”
Speaking on the preparations that Bayelsa state has made for the impending flood, Ere said, “The state government has made robust preparations. Thankfully, His Excellency, Senator Duoye Diri, created the directorate for flood and erosion control. And since then, since after creation, the agency has swung into action and several canals are being opened up. There is a lot of desilting going on especially within the Yenagoa metropolis.” He also said that the roads have new corvettes that are being put in place. He also said, “Bond walls have been created around several communities, bond walls so that it will prevent floods from overrunning some communities. Those efforts are going on in Bayelsa state and we comment the governor for being so proactive this particular year”