- As Labour threatens indefinite strike from Friday
The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) and Julius Berger Plc have signed a tripartite agreement of N120 billion, for the construction of a 34 kilometre road, to link Bonny with Bodo, in River State.
In a seeming re-enactment of the reconstruction strategy of Apapa Lagos road which Fashola supervised, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, at the tripartite agreement and contract signing in Abuja, expressed a strong belief that the project when completed, would revive and strengthen the nation’s economy; a well as boost socio-economic development in the country and improve the lives of Nigerians in the Niger Delta region, particularly those living on Bonny Island, Ogoni, Okrika, Eleme and Andoni.
Fashola emphasised that the project was in compliance with the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which had infrastructural provision as one of its pillars.
“The project portrays the commitment of the government to clean and build up as well as reposition the Niger Delta region recognising the private sector partnership in the country.
“NLNG as a corporate organisation has decided to fund half of the project by taking 50 per cent cost of delivering the project while the Federal Government takes 50 per cent.
He, however, said the project showed government’s strong credibility and desire to push forward its commitment towards the nation’s economic revival.
According to the minister, the road on completion will connect communities in the Rivers bringing about development in the country.
Earlier, the Managing Director of NLNG, Mr Tony Attah noted that NLNG agreed to provide 50 per cent counterpart funding, amounting to N60 billion to boost socio economic development in the region.
“This is part of our effort to contribute to the advancement of the Niger Delta.
“ It will lead to the accomplishment of the dream of connecting Bonny Island to the rest of Rivers state by road and not only by sea.
“Our greater joy is that the road will ease the plight of people of Bonny Island, the community that has hosted NLNG Plant and operations for so long.
“Over the years our empathy with the host community especially with the respect to transportation challenges on Bonny Sea compelled us to open up our company business vessels to accommodate community members.
On the company’s financial contributions to Nigeria, he said “it generated 90 billion dollars in revenue as at 2015, paid 5.7 billion dollars in taxes and committed more than 200 million dollars to corporate social responsibility projects.
“The company also pays N6 billion annually to the Rivers State Government and N140 million annually to the Bonny Local Government Council,’’ he said.
Attah further noted that through its corporate social responsibility, it recently spent 12 million dollars on building, refurbishing and equipping engineering laboratories of six universities selected from six geopolitical zones.
The Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc., Wolfgang Goesh, thanked the Federal Government for its trust and confidence reposed on the company.
Goesh assured that the company would deliver a qualitative and timely project.
In the meantime, the United Labour Congress on Wednesday threatened that workers in the country would embark on an indefinite strike if the Federal Government failed to meet its demands by Friday (tomorrow).
The threat came barely two weeks after the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment responded to the workers through a letter, which the ULC said “largely failed to adequately address the critical issues raised in our demands.”
The union issued the strike threat after an emergency meeting of its National Administrative Committee, which was held jointly with the National Strike Committee in Lagos.
In a statement signed by the President, ULC, Joe Ajaero, the union urged Nigerians to take precaution and stock up necessities, saying, “The strike will be very effective as we hope to cripple all modes of transportation within the nation; ensure a total blackout nationwide; cut off petroleum product supplies; and disrupt banking operations, which will make life a bit more difficult for Nigerians.
“We regret these consequences on all of us, but we hope that these measures will help us create a nation that is better governed for the benefits of Nigerian workers and Nigerian masses.”
Ajaero said that the strike had become necessary having earlier issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government as a result of the decision of the Central Working Committee meeting of the congress on August 22, which expired on September 8, 2017.
He said that in view of the government’s rejection of the demands within the 14-day ultimatum, the ULC ordered an immediate issuance of a seven-day final strike notice, which would expire on Friday.
He added, “This course of action, though very painful to us at this time, is the only alternative available to us as we have exhausted all known peaceful processes towards an amicable resolution of the dispute.
“We, therefore, call on all genuine patriots to join hands in solidarity with us to urge the Federal Government and state governors to be kind enough to meet the demands of Nigerian workers and masses.”
The demands of the union include the immediate payment of all arrears of salaries owed workers at all levels of government without exception.
Additional report from Punch