The Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA), a coalition of nine militant groups in the Niger Delta, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari and his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to complete the East-West Road dualization project of the Federal Government.
The administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo conceived the dualization of the East-West Road in 2006 at the cost of N211 billion.
However, Uguru Usani, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, claimed in December 2017 that over N300 billion had been sunk into the East-West Road project, and “the level of work so far done was not encouraging”.
But the RNDA in a statement on Tuesday signed by ‘General’ Johnmark Ezonebi, its Leader, appealed to Buhari to complete the road, noting that the East-West Road is a major gateway to other parts of the country.
It stated that the road was abandoned by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan and his opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The group blamed the PDP for the underdevelopment of the region while it was in power at the centre for 16 years.
The militants alleged that instead of the PDP to make concerted efforts to develop the region during its heyday, it was busy looting the nation’s treasury.
The RNDA also expressed regret at the about six-year reign of Jonathan, alleging that the Jonathan administration was characterised by corruption, looting, favouritism and non-supervision of his appointees.
The militants’ group said during the Jonathan era, there was no completed project in the region, stressing that the situation took the region back to the stone age of underdevelopment.
The statement read in part: “Most worrisome and painful is the fact that Buhari’s predecessor goofed on the development of the region as he was unable to complete the road to his own Otuoke community in Bayelsa State while the most corrupt disciples in his government were sons and daughters of the Niger Delta.
“RNDA is pleased with President Buhari’s willingness and commitment to the development of the Niger Delta since he came on board in 2015 in spite of the economic recession that greeted the emergence of his administration as the crude oil output production hit as low as 900 barrels daily and the crude oil sales price was as low as between $35 and $45 per barrel due to the new agitation in the creeks for development of the region.”