By Dennis Agbo
ABAKALIKIâ€” THE Senate has asked President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua to award contracts and commence work on the proposed second Niger bridge, which it said N4billion was budgeted for in the 2009 budget.
The Senate said it was alarmed that the bridge has remained in danger and at the brick of collapse, wondering why the Federal Government would prefer to spend N3.1billion to maintain an old bridge, instead of constructing a new one.
Senate Committee Chairman on Works, Senator Julius Ucha, spoke when the Committee visited Ebonyi State onÂ inspection tour of federal roads in the South East.
Senator Ucha urged the Governors of theÂ five states of the South East to mount pressure on President Yarâ€™Adua to award the contract for the construction of the second Niger bridge, insisting that the bridge is crucial because it connects the South-East and South-South with other parts of the country.
â€œOur position is that the bridge is very crucial and if the contract is not awarded, the South East would have lost the N4billion,Â because it will be returned back to the national treasury. We therefore ask the Governors of the South East to urge the presidency to commence construction of the second bridge because it affects all parts of Nigeria,â€ said Ucha.
The Senate Works Committee disclosed that the Federal Government wanted Anambra and Delta States to bear 40% cost for the second Niger Bridge,Â that links Onitsha to Asaba, but that both states declined the Federal Governmentâ€™s request, insisting that if the Federal Government had bore the cost of the bridge construction in the 60s, it can still afford its construction in the present time, arguingÂ â€œwe are moving forward and not backwards.â€