HRM Ogiame Ikenwoli , Olu of Warri , has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to make enough provision for the completion of the Koko – Ogheye – Epe dual carriage way as well as re-award the Koko sea Shoreline Protection project.
The said road , which was the brainchild of late Festus Okotie-Eboh in 1955 as then Federal Commissioner of Finance and later awarded to Levant Construction Ltd in 2010 by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), was meant to traverse Delta, Ondo and Lagos.
The monarch who was joined by Chief W.B. Igbiriki from Ijaw-Egbema kingdom, made the appeal during his on-the-spot-assessment of abandoned projects in Koko, Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State.
On the entourage of the Olu, were his chiefs including Chief Ayirimi Emami, the Ologbosere of Warri Kingdom, and Prince Yemi Emiko and government functionaries including House of Representatives member, Chief Thomas Ereyitomi.
The revered monarch bemoaned the all-important underfunded Koko – Ogheye – Epe dual carriage way that will take less than two hours to reach Lagos and the perfunctory job done at the Koko Shoreline Protection project by SMIEC Nigeria Ltd.
The monarch while calling on President Buhari to re-award the Koko Shoreline Protection Project to save the community from ocean surge, said,
“I want to thank God that I’ve been able to come and witness this project today. The project has been on since 1955, during the time of Niger Delta Development Company.
“From what I saw just now, it’s a good job. So, I’m going to appeal to the government to pay in advance so they can continue with the job, and move back to site.
“As you can see now, the site’s abandoned because of no funding. Additionally, this road is going to open the riverine communities to projects.
“Oil companies are all over this place; Shell, Chevron and others are working there. By the time this road is enlarged to three lane or six super high way, it will be better for the kingdom and the communities.
“And it’s not only the Itsekiri kingdom that it’s going to affect. You can see my Ijaw brothers here.
“There’s a good relationship between us and the Egbema people. So, if this road is opened, both the Ijaws, Itsekiris and Ilajes will benefit enormously from it”.
On the abandoned sea Shoreline Protection Project, Ogiame who was accorded full royal welcome with cultural pomp, appealed to President Buhari to revoke the contract to SMIEC Nig. Ltd and rearward it to another company that will do a good job.
“This is no job at all. I feel bad that such a job is done in my community some time ago, Koko is a very special community in our kingdom.
“There’s a Nigeria Ports Authority here, and there’s a museum here. So, everybody comes here from all over the world, because of the strategic position of the community.
“This is the only road leading to the community. This job should be terminated and a good contractor should come and do a good job for us. That’s just the solution,” the monarch who expressed fears at the havoc the menacing river could cause to the community, noted.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of Levant Construction Ltd, Mr Elie Tonnous, while fielding questions from journalists at the Koko – Ogheye – Epe site, described his main challenge as inconsistency in payment and lack of good processes in planning for the completion of the 15.4km road and 150m bridge at Ologbo river.
He disclosed that in the phase one of the coastal road project awarded by the NDDC, 9km of asphalt has been done and 11km near the Ologbo river already silted.
“When there’s good planning, you can achieve the project on time. When you face challenges in payment, you will have delay,” he said, noting that the road if completed would immensely improve the area.