Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 10 January 2020 | 523 times
The Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has said that the ongoing work on the Second Niger Bridge, Upper Iweka, in the commercial city of Onitsha, has reached 45 per cent completion.
He said the bridge is being built as one of the five flagship projects of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
Ngige named other notable projects to include the Lagos/Ibadan, East-West Road, Abuja-Kaduna-Kano, and Mabilla.
The Minister, who spoke Thursday in Awka, said the contractor has made an undertaking on his own to deliver the project before the appointed date of 2022 and handover.
He said, “We believe the contractors because they’re working day and night. Apart from the little hiccups occasioned by demands for compensation, they’re on schedule. The job is on 45% 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 South-East, South-South is about N336bn, and the money is available unlike the Obasanjo/Jonathan arrangements when they were trying to look for PPP.
“Work has started in all these projects because money is guaranteed. The 2nd Niger Bridge which concerns me and you and people of South-South, South-West and North-Central is on course. It’s a very strategic bridge that links North, South East, South-South, South-West.
“It’s a very cheering news because during the time of PPP, 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, Ekweremadu, the Ministry of Finance and 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.”
While noting that the N336bn budgeted for the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge is intact, Ngige said the money had been set aside by the Federal Government to avoid the project having any setback.
He added: “The 2nd Niger Bridge is toll free for now. When 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 emphasised that most roads labelled federal roads by state governors were not federal road in the real sense of it, saying: “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 working in Anambra.”
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