Mr Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing has issued A two-week ultimatum to Niger Delta communities along the corridors of Bodo-Bonny bridge project to resolve their differences.
Fashola gave the ultimatum on Thursday in Abuja at a meeting with representatives of communities along the corridor of the project and officials of Julius Berger PLC, the contractor.
He said the meeting was called, following reported cases of attack on the facilities of the contractor that resulted to the withdrawal of its workers from the site.
He said the Federal Government could not afford to tie the money meant for the contract down, adding that the contractor had been paid first installment of mobilsation fees.
“It took time to beg them to release money for the project, so, if you don’t take ownership of it and put it to use, then we might as well tell them to take their money back.
“We need to have a position within two weeks for MoU of compromise to be signed assuring us that there will be peace in that place.
“You must invite the contractor back to site and ensure that you suggest to them anything you want the contractor to do because you can’t take over their business,” he said.
Fashola said the commencement of the project was conceived by the Federal Government within the context of agitation for better quality of life in the Niger Delta.
He said the project was contracted following the efforts of some sons and daughters of the region, the National Assembly through budgetary allocation and the commitment of the NLNG.
“I must emphasised at this time very clearly that it is in your hands as people who will be affected to either own this project or turn your back on it.
“I am sad to hear that the contractor is being attacked, his property in Gitto yard being vandalised, topographic survey and other works being stopped in your communities.
“My sense is that if a major federal government project is coming to your area, you put your differences aside particularly for the fact that the project is a potential live changing assets,” he added.
Chief Abel Attoni, the Palace Secretary, Bonny Kingdom commended the federal government for inaugurating the execution of the project and the commitment of the kingdom to support the project.
He said the kingdom had constituted a committee to interface with the contractor to ensure smooth execution of the project.
Attoni said the kingdom was not aware of any attack on the facilities of the contractor, adding that the act was barbaric.
Prof Jasper Jumbo, the Traditional Head, Jumbo House, Bonny said Julius Barger had failed in its responsibility to consult Jumbo Major House before the commencement of the project.
“I have not seen Julius Berger since the project was inaugurated, I have not seen the design, I don’t know where the road alignment will go through.
“We want to know our stake in this project that God has brought for us. We want to know the local content of the project,” he said. (NAN)