Bayelsa refutes report on road project
RIVERS State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, has urged the Federal Government to refund the money the state spent on the dualisation of the Port Harcourt-Owerri Road and other federal projects in the state.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Government has denied paying the Chinese firm, Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), N3.403 billion for bush clearing for the Yenagoa-Oporoma road project and procurement of vehicles for top government officials.
Taking a swipe on his critics, Amaechi said that God, through whose benevolent intervention he became governor in 2007, has not mandated him to share Rivers State’s purse among political jobbers. He spoke on Sunday night at a special thanksgiving service to dedicate the state to God, which held at the main bowl of the Alfred Diete Spiff Civic Centre, Port Harcourt.
He explained that when he became governor in 2007, the Port Harcourt-Owerri road was in deplorable condition and considering its importance, irrespective of being a federal road, his administration decided to dualise it with the hope that the Federal Government would reimburse the state. But regrettably, the Federal Government has failed to do so.
“I drove along that road on Saturday on my way back from Abuja. The project has almost been completed; it belongs to the Federal Government and we have done it with Rivers’ money,” Amaechi said. “If they like, they refund the money, but if they don’t, it is not important to me any longer, and I will never fight that. They should just pay us.
“We need to tell our critics that development is not only about roads, but the projects that impact on the lives of the poor. What about education, health, power, water? But unto God, everyday is thanksgiving.
“I am ready for a debate with all those who criticise what we have done in the state. They should come and tell us what they have done with the position they held. I am open to debate with all those people and I will show what I have done. God will fight for me.”
The Bayelsa State Government, which disclosed the estimated cost of the Yenagoa-Oporoma road project as N31billion, while N3 billion was released for mobilisation to site, said the N403 million vehicles bought were not for some top government functionaries but to be added to the State Protocol Service pool.
According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Daniel Markson-Iworiso, “the contract to CCECC was awarded for the entire road and the site clearing was never awarded as a separate contract as was reported.”
On the procurement of official vehicles, he said: “The present administration did not spend N403 million to buy vehicles for top government functionaries as was also reported. The vehicles in question are actually meant for the State Protocol Services to be established soon by the State Government.”
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