The minister of works and housing, Babatunde Fashola, weekend, reaffirmed that the second Niger Bridge would be completed in 2022. He stated this at town-hall meeting he held with some affected communities of Anambra and Delta states, adding that the delay in the progress of the job was occasioned by some crises and the coronavirus pandemic.
The minister further commended governors Willie Obiano and Ifeanyi Okowa of Anambra and Delta states, respectively, for their efforts in returning normalcy in the area. In his words, “The president asked me to assure you that nothing would stop the completion of the project in 2022. The project is on course. Not withstanding the initial conflict and Covid-19 heat, the project will be delivered as scheduled in 2022.The president is committed to that date.”
While acknowledging that the project would cost N414bn, the minister said, “This is a huge investment. We need peace to finish this work. We need patience. We need sacrifice. We shall remediate what you go through. You will not be left behind; we shall control the flooding resulting from the construction.
“Compensation is a big issue. It will be better for the state governments of Anambra and Delta states to engage the host communities while the federal government deal with the state governments about issues of compensation. But the government does not have all the money. Even if oil price drops further, this project must continue.”
He further called for the collective preservation of the Zik Masoluem, adding that a management board had been constituted to handle the place, and that, ‘’Zik belongs to all of us’.
In a speech, Gov Obiano said, “We thank Mr President for keeping his words. We also commend the commitment of the honourable minister in this project. We also urge Julius Berger Plc to settle the contentious issues with the host communities. The commitment made to the communities has not been met. We need absolute peace to realise this project.
“It’s important we support the federal government by holding our youths. We shall ensure peace from the Anambra side. The multiplier effects of this bridge are already being felt. We shall continue to support this initiative, despite the odds.”
The managing director, Julius Berger plc, Lars Richter, said the project had reached 50.1 percent completion.
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