The Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Shehuri, has called on communities along the corridor of Bodo-Bonny Bridge project to cooperate with the contractor handling the job.
Mr Shehuri made the call on Sunday in Port Harcourt while inspecting ongoing Federal Government projects in Rivers.
He said that the call was to ensure speedy completion of the project and ease the sufferings of residents of the communities.
The minister was reacting to complaints by the Federal Controller of works in the state, Mr Johnson Fadire, that the communities had not been friendly since the commencement of the project.
He expressed satisfaction with the quality and pace of work by Julius Berger Plc, the contractor handling the project, adding that the project was conceived since 1971.
He said that the communities had over the years yearned for the project under previous administrations, but that it never came to fruition.
“The present administration has taken interest in constructing the bridge because it feels that the people deserve it.
“Now that work has started on the project, I am using this medium to appeal to the communities to cooperate and appreciate the project because they are the major beneficiaries.
“We must embrace development because that is the only way government can be attracted to projects like this,” he said.
Mr Shehuri said that the ministry was doing its best to ensure that issues of compensation on Bonny axis as well as communities between Bonny and Bodo were resolved.
According to him, communities on Bodo axis have been compensated and that is why we can see the speed of work from the axis.
Fadire had said that the 39-kilometer Bodo-Bonny bridge project was critical because of its terrain but added that the project was four per cent completed.
He attributed the achievements recorded in the project to the fact that compensation had been paid in the Bodo axis where work was currently going on.
“When the contractor started the work, it was agreed that the project will commence simultaneously on both Bodo and Bonny axis because it is being funded by the Federal Government and NLNG.
“The idea is to satisfy NLNG since its operational base is in Bonny but the agreement could not hold because the communities in Bonny are yet to be compensated.
“Before we can do any work from Bonny area, we must demolish some houses and if we choose to start in the green areas, we equally have a lot of economic crops.
“The people are not happy with us and I have received several letters from the paramount ruler of Bonny in this regard,” he said.
The controller had therefore, called for urgent intervention of the minister to resolve the compensation issues and equally start work from Bonny axis.