The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has assured Nigerians that the ongoing construction of Niger’s second bridge will be completed in 2022.
Fashola, who provided the assurance during a town hall meeting to host communities in Anambra and Delta states, regretted that some reasons at work have been lost due to conflict and the coronavirus pandemic.
He praised the governors of both states, Willie Obiano and Ifeanyi Okowa, for their efforts to restore normalcy to the area.
He said: “The president asked me to assure him that nothing would stop the completion of the project in 2022.
“The project is underway; thank you to the governors of the states of Anambra and Delta, Willie Obiano and Ifeanyi Okowa for their efforts to restore normalcy here.
“Notwithstanding the initial conflict and the heat of COVID-19, the project will be delivered as scheduled in 2022. The president is committed to that date.”
By putting the cost of the project at N414bn, the Minister underscored the place of peace and sacrifice of the host communities.
“This is a great investment. We need peace to finish this job; we need patience, we need sacrifice. We will remedy what goes through. You will not be left behind, we will control the floods resulting from the construction.
“Compensation is a big problem. It will be best for the state governments of the states of Anambra and Delta to involve the host communities while we (FG) deal with the state governments on compensation issues. But the government does not have all the money. Even if the price of oil continues to decline, this project must continue.
Speaking about Zik Masoluem, who he had previously inspected, Fashola said that the board of directors had been set up to manage the site so that the facility would not fall into disuse.
However, he called for concerted efforts to keep the place in order, stating that “Zik belongs to all of us.”
In their separate speeches, Obiano and Okowa thanked Buhari for making sure the Niger Second Bridge project stayed alive.
Obiano said: “We thank the President for keeping his words. We also commend the honorable minister’s commitment to this project.
Obiano, who said he had resolved disputes on the project five times from Anambra’s side, urged the contractor, Julius Berger Plc, to resolve contentious issues with the host communities.
He said: “The commitment acquired with the communities has not been fulfilled. We need absolute peace to carry out this project.
“It is important that we support the GF by supporting our youth. We will secure peace from Anambra’s side. The multiplier effects of this bridge are already being felt. We will continue to support this initiative, despite the odds.
For his part, Managing Director, Julius Berger, PLC, Lars Richter, said the project was 50.1% complete.
Source: – Tribune