2nd Niger Bridge now at 91% completion – FG | NN NEWS

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 Says Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano, 2nd Niger Bridge, have gulped N1.3trn so far 

The Federal Government has disclosed that Second Niger Bridge, which was billed for completion last month, February but was delayed due to the COVID-19 lockdown and EndSARS protests, is now at 91 percent completion.

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, made this disclosure Thursday during the Special Weekly briefing coordinated by the Presidential Communications Team at the State House Abuja.

The briefing was to enable him provided further updates on key collaborations between the Federal Government and the State Governments in the implementation of some of the major reforms being executed by the Ministry and the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF).

According to him, 1,486 people have been directly employed for the Second Niger Bridge while another 8,110 indirect jobs have been created.

He puts the cost of three major PIDF projects at N1.3 trillion. The projects are Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway (375km): N797 billion, Second Niger Bridge (11.59km): N206 billion and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway (127km): N310 billion.

On when the projects will be completed, Fashola said that Lagos Ibadan Express Way and Second Niger Bridge are on course to be completed this year 2022, while the main Carriageway of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano expressway is scheduled for completion by Q2 2023, adding that ancillary works will be completed later.

Meanwhile, the minister has warned motorists to shelve the temptation to exceed 100km/h on completed roads, to avoid crashes.

He said the warning became necessary when he got messages from some of the road users commending the quality of work done, who said they were doing 150 100km/h due to the smoothness of the roads.

He also decried the sale of Premium Motor Spirit and other petroleum products on the roads, saying they deteriorate the roads faster.

Fashola also said the Mondays sit-at-home order issued by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB), is also impacting on the delivery of the Anambra end of the Second Niger Bridge.

He said: “Just last week, I was briefing about the challenges we are facing on the Anambra side of the second Niger bridge, where people are being told not to go to work or to sit at home on Mondays. So every day that we don’t work there is time lost. So if you look at a 52 week year that does not start on a Monday, you will have probably 52 more days, so we lose 52 days work, that is a lot  work to lose on a construction site.”

He also said power outage for between seven to 10 days will happen on the Anambra side of the bridge to enable them reinstall transmission lines.

The minister said: “On the Second Niger Bridge, we are going to shut down power supply from one of the power plants for maintenance, but that will provide us the opportunity to quickly replace all the transmission lines because we have built and raised the level which is now dangerously close to the Transmission Line so they have to reinstall them.

“So power outage will happen I think for a week to 10 days, we’re working with our partners in the ministry of power and also the Gencos to have this done. Again, these are challenges.”

On whether the Second Niger Bridge is a PPP arrangement, Fashola said, not yet.

“Right now, there’s no private sector money in what you have seen, not yet. NSIA manages the funds. So money that has come  has been an investments from the dividend income that comes to government on its investment. And the money I told you, President Buhari has recovered, that was stolen from Nigeria.

“So it’s government money so far. NSIA is talking to some investors who want to bring money, they have not brought it. Invariably they will, or we expect that it will and invariably, we tend to then concession the assets for better management. But that is  further down the line.”

On allegations that the second Niger Bridge was fully funded by the administration, the minister said, “Certainly not. It wasn’t fully funded by the previous administration.

“The answer to this lies in anybody just going to the 2015 budget. Go to the 2016 budget. Go to the 2017 budget. These are matters of public record. You will also see my statements where I was complaining that the only funding those budget were usually N2 billion, N5 billion and sometimes they will slash it. But part of the work has started, something  tiny was being done for nothing near where the PIDF came in.

“It was when the PIDF came in, that JB now mobilize  all of it resources, bring in dredgers order piles. So at that time, we will pile one and go. If you go back in the records, you will see that my first visit to this site, they had stopped work. Some of you covered me then in 2016, we received in their yard and no work  was going on because there was no money.”

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