Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
The Chiefs, Elders, women and youths of Eleme and Khana Local government areas both in Rivers State recently came out in mass to embrace the auspicious occasion to flag –off the upgrading of Port Harcourt Onne Junction Kilometer O-15 of East –West road.
The ward of the road expansion and upgrading ceremony which took place at Petroleum mechanical junction, open field Aleto Eleme was awarded to Reynolds Construction Company Nig. Limited (RCC). And was flag –off by the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Dr. Stephen Oru and his team in the Niger Delta Ministry.
The Minister and his team also use the opportunity of their visit to the area to officially commissioned Gwara electrification project in Khana Local government which was executed by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affair.
At the flag –off of Port Harcourt Onne Junction Kilometer O-15 of East –West road, the Chairman, Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, His Royal Majesty King G. N Giniwa and His Royal Majesty, King sir Samuel Ejire of Eleme Kingdom lauded the Federal government through the Minister of Niger Delta Affair for awarding the road which they described as a nightmare.
The two Monarchs in their acceptance speeches said the people of the area would be happy if the road is completed, recalling that it takes the road ushers and the people of the area hours to get to their various destinations. They also plead with the contractor RCC to consider the nature of terrain where many companies uses heavy trucks to transport their goods.
His Royal Majesty King G. N Giniwa said: “ I am very happy that Federal government has come to rescue us from the terrible nightmare, we drives hours before we get to our destinations. But now that the road has been awarded I will advise that the contractor handling the project should be fast before the raining session. I and my subject have accepted the award of the contract to a reputable contractor like RCC; this construction company have been tested and known as the best construction firm considering the job they have delivered before now.”
At the palace of King sir Samuel Ejire , the Oneh-Eh Eleme x of Eleme Kingdom where the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Dr. Oru and his entourage paid a courtesy visit. the Monarch while blessing their step to the palace said the people of Eleme is hospitable and accommodating. He advised the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to ensure that the contract is being handled with all amount of seriousness as to relieve his subject from another pain of this year’s raining session.
The Monarch said: “We are glad to have you in our kingdom, the chiefs and my subjects will not forget the respect you accorded to their king by stepping into the palace to greet the king. Many people have visited this kingdom but choose not to visit the palace. I want to inform you that this road has damaged to the level that as you go out there driving, people would be praying for you. I almost lost my life on the road, that to tell you how bad the road is. I want to thank Mr. President through you for remembering the people of Eleme. Of course it is to be noted that the road you are about to put in a good shape lead to the First Lady’s home Dame Patience Jonathan and the President himself pass through the road when he wants to visit his In-laws, so it is very important that the road should be fixed.”
Responding, Dr. Oru thanked the Royal Majesty for accepting them in his palace, he said they decided to pay him a courtesy visit to brief him on the reason why they are in his kingdom. He told the Majesty that the occasion is designed to flag off the upgrading of Port Harcourt onne junction (Km 0+00 to Km 15+00)of East West road section III.
During his speech to flag- off the road project, Dr. Oru said the East West road runs from Warri through kaiama Port Harcourt, Eket to Oron with an extension to Calabar, adding that it is the major artery that support the economic activities associated with the oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the Niger Delta Region.
“This section of the East West road from port Harcourt to Onne junction, it carry’s the heaviest vehicular traffic on the East West road as it runs through the industrial hub of River state. The activities of Port Harcourt refineries (old and new) Eleme Petro chemical, NAFCON, Onne deep sea port etc are all dependent on this road. This section of the road has witnessed unprecedented rise in traffic volume and heavy axle loads in as a result of daily increasing commercial activities. In order to cope with this rising vehicular traffic trend, the Federal government under the present administration awarded in November 2014 the contract for the upgrading of this 15km section of East West road.
“The works to be executed by the contract Messrs Reynolds Construction Company limited (RCC) include the following: (1) The Upgrading of the existing two lane dual carriageway to three lane dual carriageways from Eleme junction to Onne Port junction, with a total length of 15km. (2)Construction of 2NOs. interchange ,one each at Refinery junction and port junctions,(3)Construction of three traffic lanes ,10.95m wide divided carriageway, flanked by 2.75m outer and 1.5m inner shoulders; (4)construction of drainages and culverts.(5)provision of asphaltic concrete pavement consisting of 250mm compacted thickness of soil cement stabilized sub base ,250mm to 500m compacted thickness crushed rock stone base material. 120mm to180mm thickness of asphaltic binder course and 40mm thickness of wearing course amongst others ;and (6)construction of deck-on-pile bridge between km 59 and km 61 on the new carriageway to provide ultimate solution to heavy soil subsidence frequently experienced in that section of the road.”
The Minister continued that the project which is awarded at the cost of N43,869,381730,23 to messrs Reynolds Construction Company limited (RCC) is expected to be completed within 18 months, noting that when this project is completed vehicular traffic congestion will be totally eliminated.
“It is my pleasure to inform this respectable gathering that my ministry is working hard to complete the section I-IV of the East West road from Warri to Oron. Meanwhile, we have achieved 87 % overall completion of this road. I am happy to also inform you that the Federal government has graciously awarded the extension of East West road from Oron to Calabar (section V). The contractor handing it, is Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) Nigeria Limited. We have every reason to thank God for the administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, son of the soil ,for identifying with the need to resolved the Niger Delta question as a solution to the enthronement of peace in the area”