N336bn 2nd Niger Bridge fund in­tact, says Ngige

The Punch - - NEWS - Tony Okafor, Awka

The Min­is­ter of Labour and employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has said the N336bn bud­geted for the con­struc­tion of the 2nd Niger Bridge is in­tact.

he said the money for the con­tract had been set aside by the Fed­eral Govern­ment from the out­set of the project so that it would not be aban­doned due to paucity of fund.

The min­is­ter said that was the ma­jor achieve­ment of the Pres­i­dent, Ma­jor Gen­eral Muham­madu Buhari (retd.), un­like his pre­de­ces­sors who planned the con­struc­tion of the bridge on a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship ar­range­ment.

Ngige, who spoke to our cor­re­spon­dent in Awka, Anam­bra State, said the bridge was “speed­ily go­ing on” with about 45 per cent work done.

he said, “The 2nd Niger Bridge is on­go­ing. The con­trac­tor has made an un­der­tak­ing to de­liver the project be­fore the ap­pointed date of 2022.

“We be­lieve them be­cause they’re work­ing day and night. Apart from the lit­tle hic­cup oc­ca­sioned by de­mands for com­pen­sa­tion, they’re on sched­ule. The job is on 45 per cent com­ple­tion and the fund for the con­struc­tion is in­tact.

“That is the good news for the peo­ple of the South-east. The cost of the bridge from exit route of Delta and the South­east and the South-south is about N336bn, and the money is avail­able un­like the Obasanjo/ Jonathan ar­range­ments when they were try­ing to look for the PPP op­tion.

“Now, we’re build­ing the bridge as one of the five flag­ship projects of the Fed­eral Govern­ment, which are the La­gos/ibadan ex­press­way, east-west Road, 2nd Niger Bridge, Abuja-kaduna-kano, and the Man­billa project.

“Work has started in all these projects be­cause money is guar­an­teed. The 2nd Niger Bridge which con­cerns me and you and the peo­ple of the South-south, South-west and the North-cen­tral is on course.

It’s a very strate­gic bridge that links the North, South-east, South-south and the South­west.

“It is a very cheer­ing news be­cause dur­ing the time of PDP, I op­posed it in the Se­nate and I had a very se­ri­ous al­ter­ca­tion at the South-east cau­cus meet­ing with the then Deputy Se­nate Pres­i­dent, Ike ek­w­ere­madu, and the Fed­eral Min­istry of Fi­nance and the then SGF, Anyim Pius. I blasted them that they’ve not treated us well. Whereas oth­ers were get­ting bridges that are toll-free these peo­ple are giv­ing us toll bridge.

“The 2nd Niger Bridge is toll-free for now. When we are go­ing to toll, we’ll toll all the fed­eral roads and bridges all to­gether. So, it’s not a ques­tion of tolling the bridge to re­coup our money.”

The min­is­ter con­tended that most roads la­belled fed­eral roads by state gov­er­nors were not fed­eral roads in the real sense of it.

he said, “I’m one of those who be­lieve that the fed­eral roads in the whole of Nige­ria should be tolled. As a mat­ter of fact, a lot of roads they call fed­eral roads, I don’t be­lieve they are fed­eral roads.

“The fed­eral roads are the ones we call Trunk A roads that lead to state cap­i­tals. The state govern­ment should face other roads in their do­main and build them like we did when I was the gover­nor of Anam­bra State.

“I’m happy Pres­i­dent Buhari lis­tens to the South­east min­is­ters who are mem­bers of the Fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil who make tremen­dous ef­forts to re­mind coun­cil mem­bers that this same 2nd Niger Bridge is like the doyen of all bridges in the south­ern part of Nige­ria.

“The Pres­i­dent, be­ing a lis­ten­ing leader, granted our re­quests and made that bridge one of the flag­ship projects. The same goes for the enugu In­ter­na­tional Air­port but it is only in­ter­na­tional by name.

“The fa­cil­i­ties were run down; the ru­n­away be­came one of the worst in Africa, ac­cord­ing to an ethiopian air­line pilot who flew us from Ad­dis Ababa to enugu in 2018.

“he told us that this is one of the worst runaways in Africa. You can now know it is a death­trap, the rea­son the Pres­i­dent de­cided at the FEC to close the air­port so as to bring it back to in­ter­na­tional stan­dard.”

•L-R: Se­nior Spe­cial As­sis­tant to La­gos State Gover­nor on Hous­ing, Mr Ay­o­deji Amodu; Man­ag­ing Direc­tor, Echo­s­tone Nige­ria, Mr Sammy Adi­gun; La­gos State Com­mis­sioner for Hous­ing, Mr Moruf Akinderu-fa­tai; and Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary, La­gos State Min­istry of Hous­ing, Mr Wa­siu Akewu­sola, dur­ing a tour of La­gos State First Green and Eco-friendly Hous­ing Es­tate in Bada­gry, La­gos... on Thurs­day. Photo: Sa­heed Olug­bon

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.