The federal government has reassured that the 2022 deadline for the completion of the 2nd Niger Bridge was sacrosanct.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola who gave the assurance during a town hall meeting to host communities of Anambra and Delta States, regretted that some grounds had been lost in the job ocassioned by the conflicts and the coronavirus pandemic.
He commended governors of both States, his excellencies, Willie Obiano and Ifeanyi Okowa for their efforts in returning normalcy in the area.
He said, “The President asked me to assure you that nothing would stop the completion of the project in 2022.
“The project is on course; thanks to the governors of Anambra and Delta States, his excellencies, Willie Obiano and Ifeanyi Okowa for their efforts in returning normalcy here.
“Not withstanding the initial conflict and COVID19 heat, the project will be delivered as scheduled in 2022 .The President is committed to that date.”
While putting the cost of the project at N414bn, the Minister underscored the place of peace and sacrifice from the host communities.
“This is huge investment.We need peace to finish this work ; we need patient; we need sacrifice. We shall remediate what you go through. You will not be left behind; we shall control the flooding resulting from the construction.
“Compensation is a big issue. It will be better for the state governments of Anambra and Delta States to engage the host communities while we(FG) deal with the state governments about issues of compensation . But the government does not have all the money. Even if oil price drops further, this project must continue.
Speaking on Zik masoluem, which he had earlier inspected, Fashola said management board had been constituted to handle the place so that the facility would not go into disuse.
He however called for concerted efforts in keeping the place in order , stating “Zik belongs to all of us.”.
In their separate speeches, Obiano and Okowa thanked Buhari for ensuring that the 2nd Niger Bridge project stayed alive.
Obiano said, ” We we thank Mr President for keeping his words. We also commend the commitment of the honourable minister in this project .
Obiano who said he had resolved conflicts on the project five times from the Anambra side, urged the contractor, Julius Berger Plc to settle the contentious issues with the host communities.
He said,” The commitment made to the communities has not been met. We need absolute peace to realise this project.
” It’s important we support the FG by holding our youths. We shall ensure peace from the Anambra side. The multiplier effects of this bridge are already being felt. We shall continue to support this initiative, despite the odds.
On his part, Managing Director, Julius Berger, PLC, Lars Richter, said the project had reached 50.1 completion.