Work will soon begin on the Second Niger Bridge as the Federal Government has mobilized contractors to the site of the project.
The cheering news was broken on Wednesday in Abuja by the Managing Director of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr. Uche Orji.
At a press conference in Abuja, Orji said that the completion of the multi-billion naira Second Niger Bridge linking Asaba in Delta State and Onitsha in Anambra State would be done because the Federal Government was handling it with dispatch.
He admitted that time had been lost in the execution of the project, but declared that with the mobilisation of contractors to the site, work would be accelerated on the project, adding that a new financing structure had been adopted.
According to Orji, “the Second Niger Bridge, I would say, went through a phase where there was a pause, as we went through a kind of transition from one government to another. We have reconciled most of the issues and we are working to get back on course with funding. I think the contractors have been mobilised once again and so they will get back to work.
“There is a new financing strategy which is being discussed, which we are driving along with the Federal Ministry of Works. Once that is agreed, you will see a significant progress on that bridge in the next couple of years.
“We did lose time, while we were trying to complete the transaction process and there are people who are working on this in the ministry. There was a bit of period of time loss but we are back on track. “But the financing structure is changing and once this is approved, we will move faster”, Orji said.
Also yesterday, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved $38 million for the construction of the Nigeria-Cameroun border link bridge at Ekot-Ifiom in Cross River State. The consultancy services will cost additional $1.9 million.
The project, which is supervised by the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, will be supported by the African Development Bank and is expected to improve relationship between Cameroun and Nigeria, especially in view of the International Court of Justice judgement over the Bakassi Peninsula.
The Minister in charge, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), told journalists that it is part of the link road to Enugu-Abakiliki Highway which is already being completed and also part of the larger Lagos/Mombasa superhighway.
He further explained that “the Cameroun bridge is $38 million for the construction contract and $1.9 million for consultancy and supervision of the bridge under the African Development Bank procurement guidelines.”
Fashola said that another approval by FEC was the resuscitation and completion at a cost of N32 billion, of the Kaduna Eastern Bypass Highway which was started in 2002, and initially planned to have been completed in three years.
The 50-kilometre dual carriage way with nine bridges over rivers and rail crossings, is yet to be complete 15 years after and the cost has escalated.
“When the project was first awarded in 2002 it was N16 billion. We have had to get approval for a N22 billion variation and that takes the total project cost now to N32 billion.”
Outgoing Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, also announced FEC’s approval of the Revised National Policy on Environment which was first formulated in 1991 and last revised in 1999. The second revision is 2017.
Mohammed explained that “it has become imperative that we have this new policy framework because what we really wanted to do is to capture some of the emerging issues that have come since then as regards to environment.
“These concerns such as climate change, coastal erosion, desertification, erosion, pollution and insecurity which have been exacerbated by the struggles for environment resources, we see this in the country at all levels.”
She also disclosed that a team from her ministry had gone ahead to secure the site of a toxic dump in Delta State while relevant regulatory agencies are trying to fish out the culprits.