The determination of the President Muhammadu Buhari-administration to build a second Niger Bridge across River Niger appears to have achieved a milestone with the successful erection of the first part of the first deck of the historic bridge by the construction firm, Julius Berger.
And, clearly to prove to doubting Nigerians that the project is a reality, the supervising Minister of the historic project, Babatunde Raji Fashola, on Tuesday make a public show of the milestone, when he proudly walked on top of the first deck of the bridge under a guided tour directed by project engineers of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc.
An elated Fashola told journalists on tour with him that the Buhari administration was determined to ensure that the project was completed within the set deadline of February 2022, adding that funding had been arranged to ensure that the project was completed as scheduled.
「This is one project that President Muhammadu Buhari wants to see its early completion and we are mobilizing funds from all sources, including Nigeria’s money that was stolen and stashed away in foreign lands, to ensure that it becomes a reality,」 the minister said.
Fashola also boasted that the second Niger bridge had created millions of jobs and boosted the Nigerian economy as no fewer than 19 million litres of diesel is to be bought locally for the powering of the 450 machines being deployed for the project and 1300 jobs directly created by the project.
Additionally, the minister disclosed that the reclamation of seven kilometres of swamp areas for the construction of access road to link Owerri-bound traffic to the bridge was progressing steadily while the completion of the first deck of the one lane of the bridge is scheduled for August this year.
With the completion of the first deck of the first lane of the 2nd Niger Bridge, work on the second lane would take off in earnest in September and we are following the 2022 deadline with the seriousness with appropriate funding,」 the minister said.
The minister had earlier inspected the progress of work at the Anambra State Federal Secretariat at Awka, where he directed the contractor handling the project to design and incorporate a lift into the project for the interest of the elderly and handicapped persons who may use the facility.
He also inspected work at the National Housing Project sites in Asaba and Awka and interacted with artisans and petty traders and food sellers at the sites and met with the contractors and key officials of the ministry supervising the jobs.