The Rivers State Govenor, Nyesom Wike has brushed off criticisms and also awarded a fifth flyover contract in the state capital, Port Harcourt.
He also said last year 2019 in the heat of criticisms of developing only the state capital and Ikwerre area of the state that if he found more funds, he would build more flyovers.
The funds came when the FG approved refund of N78.9Bn for federal roads constructed in the past and Wike moved to award the fourth flyover with two link roads for N18Bn. Now, he has awarded the fifth at almost N16Bn.
The governor while signing the contract reiterated his commitment to providing quality infrastructure that would enhance the development of the State. He said he would not allow political talks to deter him. Many argue that the roads to other parts of the state especially the one to Okehi in Etche local council road that leads to Okpala in Imo State have been ignored. Others want youth empowerment and entrepreneurship to be given attention.
Instead, Gov Wike awarded a contract to construct the GRA Junction Flyover in Port Harcourt. According to him, the provisions of critical infrastructure will not be politicised because Rivers people deserve the best.
“Today, we have signed the papers for the award of N15.8Bn contract for the GRA Flyover and also the dualization of the Ezimgbu Link Road up to Stadium Road, and from Genesis Eatery Axis of Tombia Road up to Ikwerre Road.
“It is unprecedented that a State can dream, commence and complete construction of five flyovers within a year.
“We will pay Julius Berger Nigeria PLC, 70 percent of the contract sum up front. This will make them to keep to the terms agreed on delivering the job within 12months.
“The rains cannot be used as an excuse because we are going to pay them. I trust the capacity of Julius Berger and I believe that Rivers State deserves the best”, he stated.
The Governor dismissed comments by critics that he is concentrating development on Port Harcourt to the detriment of other parts of the state.
He stated that he would not politicise anything that has to do with the construction of roads in the interest of the State.
The Governor maintained that any investment made in the State Capital goes a long way to boost the image of the State.
“We are providing infrastructure and roads in all the 23 local government areas. We are also at the point of constructing a road from Woji town connecting Aleto- Alesa up to Port Harcourt Refinery junction.
“That road will help the people of Okrika to access Port Harcourt within ten minutes without going through the East West road,” he stated.
Governor Wike also announced the court judgment that has affirmed that the Rivers State Government is the owner of the OML11.
“Yesterday, we got judgment against Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) that OML 11 and Kidney Island belong to Rivers State Government.
“For us, whatever we will do to enhance the development of the State, we will do it within the period we are in office,” he added.
Managing Director, Julius Berger Nigeria PLC, Lars Ritchter, said they are delighted to be part of the success story of Gov Wike’s administration.
He pointed out that they started with polehole contracts in 2015, and has since constructed 19 Roads.
Other projects completed include, the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park, Ecumenical Centre, Cinema and Restaurant.
According to Ritchter, two of the three flyovers started in October 2019 will be delivered by December 2020 and the third one in February 2021.