Suspected gunmen have kidnapped 16 travellers along the Rumuji – Elele axis of the east-west road in Rivers state.
The victims were travelling from the Ekeki motor park in Yenagoa the Bayelsa State capital to Port Harcourt, Rivers State when their vehicle was intercepted by the suspected kidnappers and taken into the bush.
According to the Public Relations Officer of the Rivers State Police Command, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, who confirmed to Channels TV, said that a manhunt for the kidnappers has commenced and efforts are on to rescue the victims.
“We are aware of the pockets of criminal activities along the East-West road, we are doing our best to contain these criminal activities, especially kidnapping.
“We have launched a manhunt for the kidnappers and efforts are on to rescue the victims.”
The Headquarters 6 Division Nigerian Army, Port-Harcourt, will be conducting its Route Match on Friday April 7, 2017 as part of their monthly Physical Training Exercise of the Nigerian Army.
The exercise is meant to assess the physical fitness and endurance of troops for effective manpower development of the personnel.
To this end, residents and commuters within Port Harcourt metropolis are hereby informed that they will witness large body of troops conducting the exercise between 6:00am to 9:00am along Ikwerre road, Rumuigbo round about, NTA road, East-West road, and Rumuokoro – Port Harcourt Barracks.
The general public is encouraged not to panic, as this is a routine monthly event in the Nigerian Army.
This was revealed in a statement on April 5, 2017 signed by the Deputy Director Army Public Relations, Colonel, Aminu Iliyasu.
The Federal Government has announced the first quarter of 2015 as the completion date for the East-West Road but however noted that that depends largely depends on the availability of funds.
The Supervising Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Darius Ishaku told a news conference in Abuja that the project has suffered several postponements because of the paucity of funds.
The minister, who said 70 per cent of the project has been completed, also blamed the topography of the region as one of the factors affecting the topography of the region is also affecting the project.
The project, according to the minister, which was started in 2010 has faced several challenges, chief among them is the availability of funds.
He noted that the total contract sum for the project is N349.9 billion naira but revealed that only N250 billion has been disbursed, leaving over N100 billion to be released.
The 338 kilometre road stretching from Effurun in Delta state to Oron in Akwa Ibom state cuts across four states in the Niger Delta region.
The design for the project has 42 bridges and 786 culverts, which are divided into five sections.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Goddsday Orubebe has promised that the state chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will deliver the oil producing region come the 2015 general elections.
He said this while speaking to newsmen after a meeting held at the Delta Palace Hotel, Warri, with traditional chiefs and rulers on the present issues going on the state chapter of the party and his alleged suspension from the state party.
The minister reassured the members of the community that there are no problems or issues in the state PDP but rather, they are all working together with the party chairman to deliver PDP again come 2015 as PDP is the only party in the state.
“The party is very strong,” he said. Concerning his suspension from the party, Mr Orubebe called those going about it as charlatans that do not understand the constitution of the party.
Recently, a factional chairman of the party in the area, Kenneth Ogeibiri announced Orubebe’s suspension from the party over allegation of gross misconduct.
Orubebe denied the allegation and pointed out the several jobs he has done in time past and is still doing. He reassured everyone especially Niger Deltans that the East West road which has been ongoing since 2006 will be completed and delivered by December 2014.
Speaking on alleged problems with the Elder statesman, Mr Edwin Clark, Mr Orubebe stated that the former is a father and leader of the Ijaw people and he has no issues with him.
“The relationship is very cordial” he said. He added that they both work for the interest of the people and the state.
The Federal Government has stated that the delay in the completion of the East-West Road is due to the on-going construction of the bridges and culverts on that road.
The Minster of the Niger Delta Ministry, Godsdey Orubebe, who disclosed this during a lecture at the University of Benin, said the road was initially awarded in 2006 without proper designs and inadequately funded by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.
According to him, though the road was awarded for N200 billion by the Obasanjo administration in 2006, only N1.2 billion was released for it.
Mr. Orubebe who said the challenge of abduction of expatriate workers, has also contributed to delay the project. He, however, gave the assurance that it will be completed by December 2014.
The Minister’s explanation is coming after the governor of River State, Chibuike Amaechi criticised him for not doing any project in the region and demanded the completion of the East-West road which stretches from Edo State to Cross River State.
Supporting the call for a new revenue allocation formula, the minister said it should not be on the basis of which arm of government should get more or less, rather the emphasis should be on the re-allocation of the duties of the three arms of government.
This, he noted, will effectively speed up the development of the country.
The wife of the Senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District, George Thompson Sekibo who was kidnapped last Thursday in Port Harcourt has been rescued, a family source said on Monday.
Asime sekibo along with two other ladies was abducted under the Obiri Ikwerre Bridge (still under construction) along the East-West road at about 7:00pm, while returning from the University of Port Harcourt, Choba.
A reliable family source told Channels Television news that Mrs Sekibo was rescued from her abductors by security forces somewhere close to Bayelsa along the East-West road at about 5:30pm on Monday.
The family source, who preferred to remain anonymous, said no ransom was paid to the kidnappers, adding that the Senator’s wife has since been reunited with her family.
The spokesman of the Rivers state police command, Ben Ugwuegbulam (DSP), could not confirm the rescue of Mrs Sekibo. He said “I have heard of the development, but I’m still waiting for the details of how it happened”.
The Kidnappers had reportedly contacted Senator Sekibo to demand for an undisclosed amount of ransom money.