The multi-billion Naira Ogbia-Nembe road in Bayelsa State, which is being largely sponsored by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) is nearing completion as history was made recently when the Deputy Governor of the state, retired Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah, accompanied by a team from SPDC-operated Joint Venture (JV) drove to Nembe city through the road.
The feat achieved in the road project, now being constructed by Setraco Nigeria Limited, marked an important milestone in the construction of key highways in the Niger Delta.
The project, which represents Phase 2, links Ogbia and Nembe, measuring a distance of over 27 kilometres with six bridges and more than 50 culverts across very difficult swamp terrain.
Phase 2 costs N24.4 billion, with SPDC JV funding 70per cent, while the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is responsible for the remaining 30per cent.
The contract for this phase was awarded in December 2005 and work commenced in February 2006 but was disrupted several times during the years of militancy in the Niger Delta.
Phase 1 of the road project linking Imiringi and Ogbia involved a 38-kilometre stretch with two major bridges and was completed in 2005, funded solely by the SPDC Joint Venture.
Spokesman of SPDC, Mr. Precious Okolobo said in a statement at the weekend that the entourage of the deputy governor, which included members of the Bayelsa State Executive Council and traditional rulers, stopped briefly at the project office site, where the contractor disclosed that the road was 60per cent completed.
Reacting to the complaints by the contractor that dredging activities were being disrupted by the community youth, the deputy governor was said to have warned against such activities.
According to him, the perpetrators would face the “full weight of the law,” and urged the youths of the area to channel all genuine grievances to government for quick resolution.
The Amanyanabo of Nembe (Mingi X11) Dr. Edmund Daukoru, who received the entourage, along with his Council of Chiefs, expressed delight at the progress of work and lauded SPDC, NDDC and the Baylesa State Government as well as the contractor “for making the dream of the Nembe people come true.”
He pointed out that the Ogbia – Nembe Road would improve the economy of the area.
SPDC’s Government and Community Relations Manager, Mr. Evans Krukrubo who led the company’s team said nobody had believed that the road project would be a success.
“This is history in the making. Nobody believed this will happen, but it is true, we have come to Nembe by road! SPDC Joint venture is pleased to play a major role in making this happen,” he said.
The Vice Chairperson of Nembe City Development Foundation, Mrs. Molly Isere used the occasion to formally hand over the first prize that the Nembe Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) Cluster won in the first Shell Community Transformation and Development Award last December to the Mingi, who was elated by their performance.