After series of interaction with the Minister of Works and Housing on the need to improve funding for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Road. Sen. Gershom Bassey representing Cross River South Senatorial District on seeing the paltry N1 Billion allocated for the rehabilitation of Odukpani-Itu – Ikot Ekpene Road in the 2020 Budget(ERGP-12141470) page 1098, immediately requested to know from the Minister the reason for such abysmal allocation.

The Minister of Works & Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN in reaction to the Distinguished Senator’s request sent in a correspondence dated 14th February, 2020 with the following response –
i. Odukpani – Itu Bridge Head was awarded to M/s Julius Berger Nig. Plc;
ii. M/s Julius Berger Nig. Plc has been instructed to commence work at Odukpani, the Cross River State Section;
iii. To ensure accelerated progress, the project has been included in the 2020 SUKUK funding programme with N1billion & N2billion earmarked for sections of the road within Akwa Ibom State and Cross River State respectively;
iv. The contractor, M/s Julius Berger Plc. stated that compensation issues constitutes a problem within the Cross River State section of the road and for that reason, it is unable to commence work;
v. It is the resolution of the Federal Executive Council that the responsibility for paying compensation to affected persons along the construction width of a road project shall be borne by the State Government where the road is domiciled;
vi. That the Ministry had completed the valuation of buildings, crops and economic trees along the construction width of the project in Cross River State and had arrived at a compensation cost of N1,147,008,880.71 for the following Communities

    vii. That the Ministry had communicated the cost of compensation to the Executive Governor of Cross River State requesting that he makes payment through the contractor, M/s Julius Berger Plc. to enable the contractor commence work;
    From the foregoing, the Distinguished Senator Gershom Bassey implores all Cross Riverians to be patient and also applauds the efforts of His Excellency, Governor Benedict Ayade in resolving all the issues related to this very critical road.
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The Senator assures his constituents and Cross River State as a whole that the issues surrounding compensation will soon be brought to a close and the people of Cross River State and Akwa Ibom State will begin to reap the benefits of a fully reconstructed Calabar – Itu Road.

Essien Ita writes from Abuja