Jonathan Unveils N117 Billion 2nd Niger BridgeFeatured, Latest News, News Monday, March 10th, 2014
Ayo Balogun, Lagos
Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan on Monday unveiled the 2nd Niger Bridge in Onitsha, Anambra State whose construction is to gulp N117 billion.
Speaking at the Ground Breaking Ceremony of the project, Jonathan said the Federal Government is executing the project under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement for a concession period of 25 years.
He disclosed that the project shall be constructed under a Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT)’ model, saying government was confident in the capacity and competence of the Concessionaire, Messrs Julius Berger-NSIA Consortium, to deliver on this project, at the construction cost of about N117 billion naira.
The president added that to facilitate timely delivery, the Federal Government has made a commitment to contribute 25% of the construction cost, in the sum of N30 Billion.
“As part of our administration’s Transformation Agenda in the road sector, we have set out to construct two very important new bridges, across our Nation’s two great rivers – the River Niger and River Benue. These are the Loko-Oweto Bridge linking Nassarawa and Benue States, which is progressing satisfactorily, and this 2nd Niger Bridge, connecting Anambra and Delta States.
“The 2nd Niger Bridge, whose foundation we are laying today, represents a strategic national infrastructure, with great socio-economic prospects for the contiguous States, and indeed, for the entire Nation. It is an important economic artery that will connect the great markets of Onitsha and Aba, as well as the industrial hub of Nnewi and beyond, to both the Northern and Southern parts of our country,” he said.
According to him, “on completion, this bridge, which is being constructed almost 50 years after the existing bridge opened to traffic, will alleviate the pains experienced by travelers as a result of congestion of the old bridge, particularly during festive periods. It will massively improve road transportation in the South-East of Nigeria, and also reduce travel times substantially, in this part of the country.
“This project has been programmed in strict compliance with the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission Act, and the Public Procurement Act. No stone has been left unturned in ensuring the success of the project, considering the several unsuccessful attempts by past administrations to deliver this vital bridge.”
The president stated that as the nation commemorates the centenary of nationhood, it was firm belief that this bridge would deepen national integration and also enhance economic and social interaction among other parts of our country and the South-East.
“Next week, in Abuja, I shall be inaugurating the National Conference, and it seems appropriate that this bridge, and the Conference, two major emblems of National cohesion, are being inaugurated within the same period. I would like to assure you all that every effort will be made to ensure that this 2nd Niger Bridge is delivered,” he assured.
Abia State Governor and Chairman, South-East Governors Forum, Theophilus Orji said the Niger Bridge is an important Gateway to Onitsha and other commercial cities in the South-East Region, saying that for several years, the first bridge had borne the heavy traffic-flow that passed through the bridge as a result of the increasing commercial activities in our region, which had continued to contribute immensely to the economy of this Nation.
“This wear and tear on the first bridge has necessitated the urgent cries of our people for a second bridge; and for many years our people have put this demand on the front seat of our priority demands from the Federal Government.
“Mr President promised to attend to our request, and true to your promise to our people, you are here to flag-off the construction of this second bridge across the Niger. The entire people of the South-East Region are grateful for your magnanimity, and assure you of our cooperation and supports at all times.
“We want to put it on record that the commencement of work on the second Niger bridge is just one of the many benefits the Federal Government is conferring on our Region at this time. We are presently witnessing the on-going work at the Enugu-Umuahia-Port Harcourt Expressway, and the declaration of a state of emergency on the restoration of all Federal roads in the South-East Region by the Honorable Minister for Works, Arc Mike Onolomemen,” he stated.
He urged the Federal Government to concentrate on these projects to ensure their completion before 2015, so as to deepen the special positions they had on the hearts of Ndi-Igbo, who had resolved on their own to support the President if he decided to run for re-election in 2015.
“The South-East Region and Ndigbo believe that Mr. President means well for Nigerians and our people. You have enthroned equity in the Nigerian political system and given hope that all marginalized groups in the Nation, can find anchor and realization of their interests within a United and equitable Nigeria. That is why our region will do whatever it takes to work closely with you, so that equity, fairness and parity is achieved in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Today, as you have shown in many occasions, you have again demonstrated that you are one President of the Nation, a change agent of transformation – that keeps your promise to the marginalized and the entire Nation. And as you flag-off the construction of this second Niger Bridge, our region is already counting on the blessings of accelerated economic benefits, and see new reasons to believe in you and the successful completion of this project in no distant date,” Orji stated.
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