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Group Slams Protesters On East-West Road

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By Daniel Dafe

The Citizens Quest for Truth Initiative, an accountability advocacy and Non Governmental Organization said “it has received with dismay the news of protest on the East West Road,” by persons they described as “some people masquerading as Niger Delta youths,” that caused inconveniences to commuters on the ever busy road.

Angry youths of Eleme in Rivers shut down the Eleme axis of the East-West road in Port Harcourt, leaving hundreds of passengers and commuters stranded early Monday.

The youths who were armed with various placards said they were protesting the failure of the Nigerian government to fix that portion of the road which is in dilapidation.

A large number of youths blocked the road at Akpajo, Refinery Junction and Trailer Park ends of the road and stopped motorists from using the road.

They deflated tyres of articulated vehicles, which they used to block the roads.
Thousands of stranded commuters were forced to trek several kilometres to catch transportation at either end of the holdup.

The advocacy group in a jointly signed statement by Francis Ndimkoha, National Publicity Secretary and Chief Obiaruko Ndukwe, National President respectively said that, “It is important, as a group, that we remind Niger Deltans the history of the East-West road, which was flagged -off in 2006, by the Obasanjo Administration, as a flagship project of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA), but has remained uncompleted till date.”

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“Under the President Buhari Administration, the project was moved to the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), with approved funds surprisingly warehoused by the Uche Orji led Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) for about 4 years” Citizens Quest explained.

According to the group, “The Citizens Quest for Truth Initiative was in the forefront of the advocacy for the release of the funds meant for that project and the transfer of that project back to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. President Buhari’s approval of the return of the project to the Ministry also facilitated the release of the N19.7 Billion for the payment of historical debts owed the contractors, to enable them return to site.”

It expressed sadness that youths can on the strength of misinformation take to the street in protest.

“While we are saddened at the slow pace of work, so far, we believe that protest, which may eventually be hijacked for the criminal or political purposes is never the way to go. We urge Niger Delta leaders to call the youths to order, while more creative approaches should be employed to liaise with the Ministry, for a fruitful discussion, towards the completion of section 1 to 4 of that road, as planned,” Citizens Quest appealed.

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