Work begins soon on 2nd N/Bridge, Zik Mausoleum – Fashola

Work begins soon on 2nd N/Bridge, Zik Mausoleum – Fashola

By Chuks Moses

Expectation are high and the people the southeast part of the country still stand watching the federal government on the abandoned Second Niger Bridge, the Minister of Works, Housing and Power, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has promised that work nwill soon commenced on the construction of the second Niger Bridge.

Fashola said that the completion of the late Nnamdi Azikiwe’s Mauso­leum and the reconstruc­tion of the Onitsha-Enu­gu Expressway will equally take off, he stated this on Mon­day when he visited Onitsha, Anambra State, to assess on­going and abandoned Feder­al Government’s projects in the state.

At the site of the Second Niger Bridge, the minister said that it will be complet­ed very soon, adding that he came for assessment of the project in order to fast-track its completion.

He said: “The compen­sation is not extinguished by the fact that the bridge is being built, so nobody gains by stopping the con­struction of the bridge; no­ body gains by stopping the construction of the access road. The access road from the Onitsha end and Asaba end that are under design, need to be quickly complet­ed.

“As you might be aware, this bridge was conceived as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the Federal Government and some oth­er investors.

Essentially, this was the first Nigerian free move to­wards the PPP and comes with a lot of challenges. The investors do not understand the host communities and so they will not commit money until they are sure there will be no more hostility; they want commitment in writ­ing and by conduct to be sure that if they commit money into the project it will not be stopped by court actions and injunctions or by acts of vi­olence”.

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“So, those are the assur­ances that I came here to seek and bring the commit­ment of the Federal Gov­ernment to ensuring that this bridge, which is one of the largest infrastructural projects under this admin­istration will be completed as soon as possible,” he said.

Fashola continued: “I have been briefed since my assumption of office of the status of work and also the issues relating to lands, com­pensation issues, and identi­fication of appropriate land owners. There are issues about the wholesomeness or lack thereof of environ­mental social impact as­sessment studies conduct­ed. I have also been briefed about the letters written by His Royal Highness to rec­ommend certain persons to help in identifying and rep­resenting the interest of the land-owning families.

“In my meetings with the contracting firms, I have made it very clear to them that not only must this bridge leave transport asset behind, it must leave the eco­nomic prosperity behind for the people who host it.”

Governor Willie Obiano, in his remarks, urged the Federal Government to re­fund the N43.8 billion owed the state on the federal pro­jects it handled.

He also appealed to the minister to rehabilitate the collapsed Enugu-Onitsha Expressway and revive the Nnewi power station, among other projects.



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