By Vincent Ujumadu, Awka
The Federal government yesterday reassured the commitment of the present administration towards the completion of the 2nd Niger Bridge in 2022.
The Minister of Works, Mr Babatunde Fashiola gave the assurance at a town hall meeting with host communities of Anambra and Delta states. He said although some grounds had been lost in the job due to conflicts and the coronavirus pandemic, there is great optimism that the job would be completed on schedule.
Fashola said: “The President asked me to assure you that nothing would stop the completion of the project in 2022.
“The project is on course; thanks to the governors of Anambra and Delta States, his excellencies, Willie Obiano Ifeanyi Okowa for their efforts in returning normalcy here.
“Notwithstanding the initial conflict and COVID-19 heat, the project will be delivered as scheduled in 2022. The President is committed to that date.” The total components of the project, including the bridge and the access roads, would cost the Federal Government N414bn.
“This is a huge investment and we need peace in the affected communities to finish this work; we need patience and we need some sacrifice.”
According to him, the government would remediate what the people go through including control of 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 we deal with the state governments on issues of compensation.
“But the government does not have all the money. However, even if oil price drops further, this project must continue,” he added.
In his speech, Governor Willie Obiano commended the president for ensuring that the 2nd Niger Bridge project stayed alive.
Obiano said: “We thank Mr President for keeping to his words. We also commend the commitment of the honourable minister in this project.”
Obiano who said he had resolved conflicts on the project five times from the Anambra side, urged the contractor, Julius Berger Plc, to settle the contentious issues with the host communities.
He said: “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 have ensured peace from Anambra side. “The multiplier effect of this bridge is already being felt and we shall continue to support the initiative despite the odds”.