New Telegraph

Bayelsa: Road about to hit Brass Island, 80 years after

Gradually they are getting there as development is progressively spreading across Bayelsa State.

 

The state would have development more than it is now if there were access roads to these communities especially communities that produce oil and gas. No access roads.

 

No pipe borne water. Most of them also lack public power. There is abject poverty everywhere. But the narrative is gradually changing as the people are increasingly becoming aware that they are entitled to these basic amenities.

 

This is what warranted the start of one of the most important roads in the state, the Nembe/Brass road which was flagged of last week by Governor Douye Diri with Babatunde Raji Fashola, the Minister for Works and Housing, being represented by Godwin Eke, the Director of Highways South South.

 

According to information, contract for this road has been awarded several times with the first taking place in 1943 for a paltry sum of three million pounds during the precolonial era then but has now been awarded for N54.1 billion being the first phase of about 21 kilometres along with 10 bridges.

Better late than never

Of course it rather late than never as the current administration has also remembered the people Angiama after 60 years by connecting them the state capital.

The road is called Oporoma/ Ukubie road in Southern Ijaw Local Government. There is also the Igbedi road of about 4.5 kilometres among other intra city roads being constructed and rehabilitated. In fact, the governor wants to finish the East, Central and the West senatorial district roads before he leaves office according to him.

 

That was why at the flag off, the joy of the people of Nembe and Brass knew no bounds as they were all seen jubilating because according to them it was a dream come though because for them it is better late than never. The road is expected to be completed in the next 24 to 36 months and will be handled by Setraco

 

That was why even all the royal fathers, the chiefs, all the captains of industry from the communities were present to witness the historic occasion. The road when completed is going to open up the Brass Island, which has key national economic assets such as the Agip oil export terminal, the ongoing Brass liquefied natural gas and the Brass fertilizer and petrochemical projects.

 

Monarch’s security vow

Promising to guard the project jealously, the Amanyanabo of Nembe, King Edmund Daukoru, expressed gratitude to Diri’s government for bringing to manifestation a dream that had long been on their minds. He said “I will extend my heartfelt gratitude to the miracle governor for yet doing another miracle.

 

A road that was conceived during the time of my birth and only about to start. I’m so advanced in age to see this happen. It is nothing short of a miracle and it comes from a miracle governor.

 

“You are a fine example of what one expects to see in a governor. It is unusual to see a successive administration complete a project conceived by the previous administration.

You are setting a trend that I hope will become an example in the future and for this orange to bear fruit; we must all cooperate with him.”

 

Miracle governor

Also, the Amanyanabo of Opu-Nembe, King Josiah Biobelemoye, described Diri as a true reflection of a miracle to the people of Nembe Kingdom through the ground breaking of the project.

 

Boosting wealth

He said “You have transformed the unity rickety bridge that has kept the unity of the Nembe brothers which was always broken but you miraculously solved that disunity by solidifying that bridge and completing it. You may not know what you have to the Nembe people.

“You have saved us from the troubles of sea or creeks pirates. We have witnessed people from Brass travelling over to Yenagoa for verification exercise and  the devilish creek pirates would accost them and some of them their certificates were thrown into the high sea. “Some lost their lives but with this, you have given hope to the hopeless.

 

“I pray that the project will not be a project that will be left for another person to complete. As for securing the contract and the executors, I assure you that my kingdom will do their best to give the best cooperation because the project is not an exploitative project but a developmental project to us.”

 

Similarly, the Amanyanabo of Okpoama Kingdom, King Ebitimi Banigo, said after more than 50 years, their dream finally came true through the passion shown by Diri. He said: “If for fifty or more years, we have not been able to attempt this, I beg to say that this is just the beginning of the governor’s success. I can assure you that for what you have done for us, we also will do for you.

 

“This project is going to open up the wealth of the nation. Nigeria as you know is more of a gas producing country than crude and the world is now moving towards gas as a way of pushing the green energy revolution that is taking place. I pray that the unique effort you have made will be utilized by the Federal Government to open up all this wealth to our country.

“Those of you that have friends that are afraid of water when this project is completed; feel free to join us in Brass Island to develop the island and to develop wealth.

 

“I’m seeing youths here today who are underutilized and I believe that this project will provide opportunities for them to be engaged meaningfully.” The Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass and first military administrator of old Rivers State, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, commend    ed the governor for working towards ending the pain of the people.

Name written in gold

 

The Nembe Local Government Chairman, Alalibo West said the governor has written his name in gold by taking the bold step to initiate this project which has been on the drawing board for so many years.

“This gesture will be remembered for years to come for your visionary and task taking step. This will further demonstrate your love for the people who have been long neglected and abandoned. It will not only make communication easy but will also open huge economic activities and opportunities in the twin sisters’ local governments.

 

“I call on all Nembe and Brass citizens to give all their support to the governor and the contractor so that they will be able to complete the project in record time.” In their remarks, the Nembe Se Congress, represented by their President Professor Monday Egein said: “This road flag off will actualize a critical section of the long proposed Yenegwe Kolo/Nembe Brass road which going by the archives was conceived in 1943 by the British colonial government.

 

‘NDDC failed us

 

’ “Our often articulated belief that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) would initiate the Nembe Brass section did not materialize just as all our entreaties and visits to the Federal Ministry of Works have been thwarted with stories 1999 till date.

 

“We shall assiduously work with the government and all relevant stakeholders towards ensuring a peaceful atmosphere for work to thrive.” Also at the Nembe community, a young woman (farmer) who cultivates guava and soursop, Preye Belema was happily seen selling her fruits. She said “Abeg, nobody should park his car in front of my farm.

 

The governor should come and park here. I will personally thank him for bringing a road to my community. At least I can sell my fruits easily now without struggling to go to Yenagoa.”

 

A governor’s promise

 

Responding, the governor said: “We wanted to replicate what was being done in Bonny Island in Rivers State with the tax relief scheme of the present government at the centre.

 

We thought that part of Agip’s tax remitted to the Federal Government can also be ploughed into construction of the Nembe-Brass road. Unfortunately, the reply we got from Agip was not encouraging. We, however, resolved that with or without Agip or any other person, this road must commence this year.”

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