5 Soldiers Guard 1 Foreigner Against Kidnapping —Minister

•Niger Delta militants in the creeks. They kidnap expatriates for  ransom. PHOTO…Google

•Armed Niger Delta militants in the creeks.

The Minister of Niger Delta, Chief Godsday Orubebe has disclosed that five soldiers guard one road construction expatriate in the Niger Delta to prevent him from being kidnapped.

He made this known during the second session of the 2013 Ministerial Platform – the mid-term report on the progress and achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan.

The event took place Thursday at the National Press Centre in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

According to Orubebe, who was presenting the mid-term report from his ministry, “kidnappings have been an issue in the development of the area. It takes five soldiers to guard one foreign worker.”

He added that  “we have managed about 50 crises since the formation of the ministry. Four skills acquisition centres were built to train youths in oil/gas activities. Seven hundred and one (701) youths (non-militants) have been trained.”

The obstacles facing the completion of the East–West road were also highlighted, saying the road contract was first awarded by the Obasanjo administration in mid 2006 for N347 billion, and it was to be completed in three years, precisely in 2009.

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He lamented that out of the N347 billion earmarked for the project, only N1.1 billion was released by the Obasanjo administration, whose tenure ended in May 2007.

According to Orubebe, no design details were prepared for the road construction even as there was no financial plan put in place by the Obasanjo administration.

“Upon our arrival, we had to develop a new design and a financial plan for the project,” he said.

The road project which spans the entire Niger Delta states,  includes theconstructionof over 1000 culverts and 42 bridges.

“Now we have completed over 53% of the road project. We have completed 36 out of the 42 bridges and over 700 out of the over 1000 culverts have also been completed,” he said.

Orubebe also said the project was below 20% completed when it was handed over to the Niger Delta ministry, but hopes that the road will be completed and commissioned by the end of 2014.

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