Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani UguruÂ Usani, has blamed paucity of funds for the numerous uncompleted projects in the Niger Delta.
Usani noted that the paucity of funds was made difficult by the economic hardship being experienced in the country.
Usani, however,Â promised that all ongoing infrastructure projects in the regionÂ would be completed by the present administration.
The minister, who spoke during an inspection tour of ongoing projects in Abia, and Cross River States, said it was the desire of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to improve the standard of living in the Niger Delta region through infrastructure development.
At the inspection of the Nkwoagu Isuochi erosion control project and the Orie-Ngodo- Lombard road projects atÂ Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State, the minister expressed displeasure at the slow pace of work on the erosion control project site.
He said the federal government was aware of the destructive effects of erosion on the community, hence the urgency to curb the menace by puttingÂ appropriate measures in place, within its limited resources.
Noting that quality of work on ground was not commensurate with invested resources, the minister, subsequently urged the construction companyÂ to make the best use of resources available to it as well as the best design to ensure that the projectÂ lasts andÂ serves the community efficiently as no shoddy job would be tolerated.
According to a statement by the Director of Press and Public Relations, Mr. Marshall Gundu, the minister said a technical review of the projectâ€™s design would be done as the job progressesÂ to ensure that the community does not suffer more damage from erosion.
HeÂ disclosed that funds might be sourcedÂ from the Ecological Fund for the timely completion of the project in addition to budgetary provisions.
In his remarks, Hon. Ikedi Ezekwesiri, representing Umunneochi in the Abia State House of Assembly, expressed joy at the project and requested that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) be involved as a means of adding more sources of funding for the project.
He also requested that actions should be expedited to pay contractors handling theÂ projects in the community, on the premise that â€œthere is money for these projects remaining in the 2017 budget as both have a lot to do with erosion and the rains are fast coming down.â€
Another project that was inspectedÂ and whose slow pace ofÂ completion was putÂ on the lack of funds,Â was the 50 kilometer Obihie- Akwente- Azunmini-UkanafunÂ road that connects Abia and Akwa Ibom StatesÂ though the ninister frowned on the use of substandard designs and materials.
The road is 38 per cent complete.
In Cross River State,Â Usani inspected the over three-kilometreÂ Okoyong Liberty City Road in Odukpani Local Government where he also frowned at the slow pace of work and use of substandard designs and materials by the constructing company.
He stressed that quality of work on all the inspected projects have toÂ be improved upon as a team of inspectors would return inÂ â€œfour weeks time for re-inspection.â€