By Nwabueze Okonkwo
ONITSHA—THE Anglican Bishop on the Niger, Rt. Rev. Owen Nwokolo has decried what he termed ‘politics of retrogression’ being played over the construction of the second bridge across the River Niger, calling on the Federal Government to expedite action on the much desired project without any further delay.
Bishop Nwokolo who is also the chairman, Christian Council of Nigeria, CCN, Anambra State chapter, expressed his indignation in a press statement in Onitsha, wondering why unwholesome politics should be played over such an all important a project.
Underscoring the invaluable role which the bridge is expected to play in the economic and social lives of not only the easterners but also the entire country, he explained that the bridge project is so annoyingly delayed because the Federal Government has not yet deemed it a serious issue.
According to him, “since it is now obvious that the existing Niger Bridge is gradually deteriorating and therefore can no longer carry the present heavy traffic load. The Federal Government ought to have stepped up the construction of the second one”.
Arguing that the delay cannot be as a result of paucity of funds, the Bishop declared: “Nigeria has both the human and natural resources to build the bridge. The South-East states, themselves, by the virtue of their economic contribution through their mineral resources, merit the project. Why then the delay in building a bridge meant to serve the east and Nigeria in general?”, he queried.
He recalled that the first bridge was built under six months, between 1964 and 1965 and regretted how the second one has remained on the drawing board for over two decades.