Second Niger Bridge to be commissioned in October

President Muhammadu Buhari will commission the Second Niger Bridge in October, his Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, said yesterday.

Gambari, who walked the entire 1.6 kilometres of the bridge while inspecting it, was accompanied by the Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige and other dignitaries.

He clarified that the previous administration released only a fraction of the total sum for the project.

According to him, the Goodluck Jonathan administration released N10 billion for the engineering drawings, compensation and other ancillary activities. He said about N400 billion has been committed by the Buhari administration to it.

Gambari believes the project was a testimony to the love President Buhari has for the Southeast.

He said: “The bridge will be linked by the first or second week of April and commissioning will be in October.

“First of all, it is not true that the money committed to the project can be linked to the previous administration.

“Only about N10 billion was available and if you know that a total of N400 billion has been committed to the project by this administration, you will understand that that amount is a far cry from N400 billion.

“The N10 billion was used for engineering drawings, compensation and other ancillary activities.

Anybody who has any doubt that President Buhari has love for the people of the Southeast, let them come to this bridge so that they can see the impact it is already making and will continue to make when it is commissioned.”

Fashola said the East-bound and West-bound link roads will be completed in this month.

He said power will be disrupted for two weeks in April to enable the transmission pylons near the new bridge to be relocated.

The minister said: “Sometimes in April, the transmission lines will be shut down for about two weeks.

“We are working with the generating company, distribution company and Ministry of Power to ensure this happens in a seamless way. “

“The disruption of power for two weeks will hopefully not be a high price to pay to have this bridge.”

Ngige said he had been proved right when he assured last year that the bridge would be completed.

“The speed, safety and the quality of the bridge are worth celebrating,” Ngige said.

The Federal Controller of Works in Anambra State, Mr. Adeyemo Ajani, noted that the pace of work was slowed down by the outbreak of Coronavirus.

Managing Director, Julius Berger, Dr Lars Richter, said large barges can ply the bridge, which has a 15-meter headroom.

He said the project provided over 1,400 jobs but stressed that at the peak of its activities about 4,000 were employed.

It was learnt that a toll will be collected on the bridge, which will have eight lanes on each side.

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