By Muyiwa Bamidele
President Goodluck Jonathan has flagged off the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge at Onitsha
The President said in his address that “The Federal Government is executing this project under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement for a concession period of 25 years, precisely, through a ‘Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT)’ model. We are 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.sic”
The president said “To facilitate timely delivery, the Federal Government has made a commitment to contribute 25% of the construction cost, in the sum of N30 Billion.”
He noted “ Today, I have come, as your President, to flag-off of this vital Bridge project, in order to move that solemn pledge, from sincere promise to concrete reality.
Jonathan reiterated that “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.
Thus ,he said ,“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.
“On completion, this bridge, which is being constructed almost 50 years after the existing bridge opened to traffic, will alleviate the pains experienced by travellers 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.
He commended Governor Peter Obi, whose tenure ends in a few days, Governor Uduaghan, and all the people and host communities, for their patience, understanding, support and cooperation in the realisation of the commencement of this project.
Jonathan noted that “as we commemorate our centenary of nationhood, it is my firm belief that this bridge will deepen national integration and also enhance economic and social interaction among other parts of our country and the South-East.