In this interview with TNN, Moses Teibowei, Bayelsa State Commissioner for Works speaks on efforts being made by the state government to open up the state through roads construction and other projects. He also gave a clue on the possible dates for the inauguration of the three senatorial roads which construction are now at various stages of completion.
There are insinuations that the volume of cash that has accrued to the state, especially from the derivation fund, is not in any way commensurate with the work done in the state. How do you take this?
Well, I will start by saying that it’s unfortunate that people that actually don’t understand what it takes to carry out infrastructural development in Bayelsa State in particular, they will go on social media, online to criticize, to castigate government.
You talk about 13 per cent derivation. Though I am not the finance commissioner, but I can authoritatively inform you that the money is being properly and fully utilized in infrastructural development. I can give an example of just yesterday(penultimate Thursday), this ministry paid out over N6.2billion to two firms, one Lubriks Construction Company Limited that is handling the outer ring road. We’ve done section one of it before, and as I speak we have also completed section four of it; we are working on section two and three.
I signed the schedule for that payment. We also paid CCECC for the Yenagoa-Oporoma road, about N2.3 billion, yesterday (penultimate Thursday), for two projects. So how can people say funds are not being utilized? Or that it is not commensurate. If you take N6billion out from our allocation in a month to settle just two contractors, we’re not talking about other contracts that are on-going, then you know and you will realize that funds are being properly utilized and that is why I can authoritatively also inform you that since the prosperity administration came on board, there is no project, not one, especially in this ministry, that we started and is abandoned, or stopped, not one. That is not only the projects that we have. If you go to the west; the Ekeremor road, it’s on-going. We have paid fully, to the last certificate. Sagbama is a local government headquarters. Ekeremor is a local government headquarters, it supposed to be a federal road, but the prosperity administration is funding it. There is no certificate that has been submitted to us as I speak, that has not been settled and we strongly believe that by February, that 42 kilometers road will be commissioned.
Yes, it will be commissioned. We’re almost concluding Isaac Boro road that was inherited. And only yesterday, we directed Julius Berger to move to Opolo-AIT Road, to complete the other section of the road.
Let’s look at the Yenagoa-Oporoma road. What are the technical details of that road? When I visited that area, I saw some bridges, completed and on-going, as well as some adjoining roads in Angiama from the Yenagoa stretch.
Yes, that’s the spur we said it’s necessary that we work on that spur, so that people going to Oporoma and other communities in Southern Ijaw Local Government will be able to have easy access to an existing jetty and from there continue with their journey.
And so His Excellency, the governor directed that we have to also quickly work on the spur. So, this morning I was also there to look at what was going because I was informed that vehicles are now going across Agobiri bridge. I said I needed to see it, and they said they’ve also completed the bridge, completed.
I said it is important that I get to the point so that I will be able to give a very good explanation of it. Coming back to the bridge you are talking about, it’s 600 meters bridge that is under construction, across River Nun and you know that River Nun, we have a confluence point where River Niger terminates, you have a river going to the west, which is river Forcados, going to Patani, Sagbama axis, then you also have River Nun that also terminates at the Atlantic ocean. So the bridge that we are constructing at Angiama, to go across the river to Oporoma is River Nun and it’s 600 meters. You’ve seen the level of work we have done. You know when you award a contract, mobilization, especially for a bridge construction, it takes time. You have to move in a whole lot of equipment, and that’s what they’ve been able to do. Before Agobiri, they have a base there, that is where they will precast all the beams that will be launched on the river and so they are set. All what they are doing is the columns. As they construct the columns when it gets to the time of launching the beams, the beams will be prepared at the Agobirri areas and they will launch it. So we believe that within a space of one year, Bayelsans and Nigerians will see that a significant job on that bridge has been done.
What is the target period for completion?
We talked about 18 months but I strongly believe that before the next gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa State, we’ll almost be at the other side of River Nun. That is our target.
When you say, we will almost be at the other side, are you saying it will be complete and function within…
(Cuts in) Within 14 to 18 months.
When did it start?
We carried out the ground breaking ceremony, the flag-off in February this year. But it took the firm some time to mobilise to site. So, calculating from say April, I believe that by December next year, we know that we will be through with that.
And I understand that they demobilized because of flood.
Yes, within the flood period, there was nothing they could do. So, they also did not carry out constructing activities because of flood.
The road from Igbogene that is supposed to get to Okaki is one lane.
That is supposed to be a two lane road.
The second lane, when is that going to start and when are you terminating all the way to AIT-Elebele road?
We have already completed section one of it because we made it four sections. Section one which is from Igbogene to Okaki, that’s about 4.6 kilometers; one lane has been completed. It’s supposed to be a dual carriage road but because our plan is that let us get a lane, that people can use while we work on the other lane, that if we start the two lanes, it will take us a longer time because of the number of road projects that are being embarked upon by the state government. So, we have completed section one. We have section two and three, which is between Okaki and Imiringi road that is currently on-going, sand filling is on-going; that is part of the project that I said we released money for, yesterday.
Section four is from Imiringa Road to AIT-Elebele, that is 7.6 kilometers; that is already completed, ready for commissioning and so the remaining section which is about 10.8 kilometers is the section we are working on now and I strongly believe that by middle of next year, we are going to complete it because we have also worked on the median that is to say that we have done more than 50 per cent of the road, because if you go, you will see that the median is already fully constructed, all we need to do is to remove unsuitable materials, sand fill and work on the other lane and it will not take us a long time to complete it.
So, the Gloryland Drive, what percentage of completion is that?
The glory land drive phase two is from Igbogene to Tombia road and it is a dual carriage way with street lights and a walk way, with a median. It’s a 10.2kilometers dual carriage way. I can authoritatively inform you that it will be commissioned in February 2023. If you go there, you need to go and see how fast the work is on-going. Already, about 4.5 kilometers of the 10.2 kilometers have been completed. We are working to ensure that February, that project is commissioned, during the third anniversary of the prosperity administration.
Can you also talk about the bus terminal project? The road leading to the terminal is not okay.
The road we are using is not the main road; the main road that will link you to the transport terminal is the outer ring road.
We’ve already constructed a culvert to link the road there. If you go there, you will see it. We’ve released about N100 million to the firm handling it to continue work so that by the end of December or possibly second week of January, we’ll be set also to commission that.
The form part of it, we’ve completed that part. We are also going to complete the water and do proper reticulation and also complete the casting of the parking lots at the park, What is intended to do is that we want to have a park where all transporters, major transporters will have their own base. It is like going to fly, you go to airport, you have different airlines having their offices there where they sell tickets. They give you boarding pass and you fly, that is what the state has done by building the transport terminal. You can name them, Agofere, this is Peace Mass, this is Ibom line, this is Rivers transport, this is, maybe we have Bayelsa Transport. All will be there. So if you want to travel outside the state, all what you need is to take a vehicle or a public transport to the transport terminal and you will now choose the transport company which you want to travel with. We will also want to reduce noise pollution where you drive on Mbiama-Yenagoa Road and they will be shouting here and there, Sagbama, Ekeremor, Port Harcourt, Lagos, this and that. We want to avoid all that. And so, that place is properly built with a lot of offices and other facilities provided- restaurants, banking halls and other facilities that is provided in that place. So, it is not only meant for big people to go to airport and fly.
You this one is land port.
Yes o, You have your own land port. You go there with the convenience, easy means of identifying the transport company you want to join and you book and announcements will be going on, so, so company is ready to leave for Port Harcourt, this, this company is leaving by so, so time to Lagos; this, this, that, it will be done in such a way that people will have easy means of transporting, and if you are coming into Bayelsa State, we also expect that that is where you will terminate and as you drop there, we have buses and taxis that will bring you into the main town so that we will also be able to check criminality and other things.
We’ve heard so much about the three senatorial roads. When are we going to use them?
We are already using the West which is leading to Ekeremor; it is motorable. I will urge you to go to Ekeremor on that road. It is motorable, though we have not completed the asphalt work. But we have gone very, very far. I will say it’s about almost 90 per cent and the contractors have informed us that by December they will take the ashphalt to Ekeremor town, which is the headquarters of Ekeremor Local Government Area.
For the Oporoma, the bridge is on-going. We believe that by January, we will engage a firm because when the bridge crosses to the other side, we will still have about six kilometers to get to Oporoma, which is the headquarters of Southern Ijaw Local Government. We intend to be working on it simultaneously, while the bridge is also on-going, that is the plan of the government.
For the East, the Nembe-Brass Road, it’s a federal road. We’ve already commenced clearing, 21 kilometers is already completed as I speak. So, we’ve identified where we can get sharp sand to start sand -filling on the alignment, that will take us to the St. Nicholas River where we will construct a bridge of about 640 meters across the river before we now approach Brass. Completion of that bridge will take us to Brass Island, though we will have some small bridges along the other remaining 21 kilometers, before we enter into Brass town. That I don’t want to give you a time frame, but we are working on the first 21 kilometers and it’s progressing.
But it certainly will not be within the lifespan of the first term of the governor.
We will not be able to complete it within the lifespan of the first term of His Excellency, but we believe that in another, maybe, two years into the second term, we will be able to hit Brass.
It does appear the government is deliberately working towards expanding Yenagoa from the one road city that it used to be, it’s quite interesting.
And His Excellency for your information, I will let this cat out of the bag- I am directed that we should work on the costing of the phase three of the glory drive, which is from Tombia road point to Government House. When I say government house, we are not taking the road straight to Government House. We are taking it to Onopa. We have the new Yenagoa city, the GRA. We will construct a bridge across to the new Yenagoa city, GRA, where we are building the commissioners quarters and by next month we will start the new legislative quarters within the GRA and we will also link it up to Ekeki, where we have the park. We have a dual carriage road, so we will also construct another bridge across Epie Greek, so that by that NTA road, it’s a dual carriage way, it will link you to the dual carriage way on this other side. So if you are going out, you don’t necessarily need to follow Mbiama-Yenagoa road, you will cross the bridge and you follow the glory land drive and you are out of Yenagoa, the same way if you are living at the Yenagoa city, the GRA, and you want to travel, you don’t need to come to Mbiama-Yenagoa road before you get out of Yenagoa. With the bridge across Ushien Greek, you will link up to Glory Drive from phase three you are out.