Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has restated that his administration remains focused on its commitment to open up the state by linking all rural communities by roads.
Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Daniel Alabrah, on a radio programme in Yenagoa at the weekend, the governor said Bayelsa was not in competition with any other state in the country, as all states have their peculiar needs and priorities.
He pointed out that one of the major challenges of the state was its coastal nature, which usually restricts access to rural communities by road and hinders agricultural produce from reaching markets in the state capital and other cities.
“This is why our administration is focused on constructing roads to rural communities where the bulk of the poor people live,” he said.
Diri also stated that his administration is prudently and judiciously spending its 13 per cent derivation funds and other refunds from the Federal Government on the construction of the three senatorial road projects and other people-oriented projects.
He listed some of the ongoing big-ticket projects including the 42kilometre Sagbama-Ekeremor road, at the cost of N34.4 billion with seven bridges of which five have already been completed by his administration.
He also said the 22.2kilometre Yenagoa-Oporoma road will cost N31.4 billion, while the 21kilometre Igbogene-Elebele road expected to gulp N54.56 billion.
“Our administration has also embarked on the first phase of the Nembe-Brass road with 10 bridges at N54 billion as well as the 10.2kilometre dual carriageway Glory Drive road from the Ecumenical Centre at Igbogene to the Tombia-Amassoma road,” he added.
The governor explained that some other infrastructure projects embarked upon by the administration include the 4.5kiliometre Igbedi road, the Media Complex, Elebele Bridge, Nembe Unity Bridge, phase one of the Igbogene-Elebele Ring Road, lecture halls and laboratories at the Bayelsa Medical University (BMU), which were all completed and inaugurated during the administration’s second anniversary in February this year.
Diri further stated that his administration has equally embarked on several training and empowerment programmes, such as the ICT-focused Diri Digital Entrepreneurship Empowerment Programme (DDEEP) with 8,000 beneficiaries across the eight councils of the state as well as training in catering, fashion designing, shoe-making and agriculture.
He also noted that no fewer than 500 of our youths and women have been trained at the CSS Integrated Farms in Nasarawa State, stressing that the government is setting up those already trained to own their farms and small-scale businesses.
In addition, he said the administration initiated a social welfare scheme that captures small businesses in the rural communities, adding that under the scheme, 210 different beneficiaries from each of the 105 wards in the state get N200,000 each monthly to grow their small businesses.
While acknowledging that the state had received the crude oil, SURE-P and oil subsidy refunds from the Federal Government in instalments in the last two years, Diri said the receipts had always been captured in the monthly transparency briefings and that the state had nothing to hide.
The governor insisted that insinuations in some quarters that the state government under his watch did not disclose the receipt of the funds was false and urged the people to pay attention to the transparency briefings, as the state’s financial records were always available and open.
He further explained that statutory allocations to Bayelsa and its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) were not more than N3 billion monthly, saying the derivation funds made it possible for the state to embark on the projects and pay worker’s salaries regularly.
He assured that his administration was determined to make a positive difference and impact in the lives of Bayelsa people.
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