• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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2nd Niger Bridge now ready – Fashola

second Niger bridge ready, Fashola

After years of delay, the 2nd Niger Bridge has now been completed and would be opened for use before the end of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, Babatunde Fashola, minister of works and housing, confirmed on Wednesday.

Announcing this in Abuja at the inaugural press conference on the scorecard of Buhari’s eight-year administration, Fashola also said that the bridge has not been commissioned due to delays in the completion of its link roads caused by recent flood surge.

The bridge is one of the infrastructure projects handled by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority ((NSIA) under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) which the Federal Government assigned to it to manage.

“I can confirm that the 2nd Niger Bridge itself is finished. People can walk through the bridge now unimpeded. What remains is the four-kilometre link road on the Asaba side.

“Right now, our dredger is in place, we have to rebuild the road by reclaiming sand, the recent surge of flood has slowed us down,” the minister told journalists.

He also said that the government, unfortunately, cannot complete the rehabilitation of road projects across the country as planned, due to poor revenues which shrunk budgetary allocations and made the amount released to fund infrastructure projects too meagre.

“The last time Nigeria spent up to N200 billion on infrastructure was in 2002 and this is affecting the amount of road infrastructure we can deliver,” he stressed.

According to him, the total amount released for infrastructure projects from 2016 to 2021 stood at N964.84 billion out of N1.58 trillion budgeted.

He explained that the results achieved so far in road infrastructure were through alternative sources of funding like the PIDF, SUKUK fund, road infrastructure tax credit scheme, multilateral loans and grants, and collaboration with government agencies.

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“As much as we wish that everything can be done, the truth is, not everything can be done but we have taken on roads that seem to defy possibilities.

“We have six major priorities which include roads leading to ports, roads leading to agricultural producing areas, mineral producing areas and strategic mineral depot, roads used for distributing petroleum products.

“Other projects of priority include roads that connect tertiary institutions, bridges, and multilateral contracts.

“We have not forsaken any road project, but there are not enough resources to finance them at the same time,” he explained.

According to him, under the SUKUK fund, N362 billion was spent on road projects in three years (2017-2020), with 482 kilometres of road achieved in 2017, 642km achieved in 2018 and 757km achieved in 2020.

The Federal Government also delivered several projects, including the rehabilitation and construction of Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan dual carriageway, construction of main works, including associated infrastructure for the Second Niger Bridge linking Anambra and Delta States and the rehabilitation of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway section I, II and III under the PIDF.

Roads constructed under the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme (RITCS) include Lokoja-Obajana-Kabba-Illorin Road, Apapa-Wharf Road, Apapa-Oworonshoki-Ojota Expressway, and Bodo-Bonny Road with a bridge across Opobo channels in River State, Fashola noted.

Others include N621 billion worth of projects funded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, across the 6 geopolitical zones.

Speaking also, Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, said the press conference was to showcase the achievements of Buhari’s eight years’ administration.

According to him, “This administration has implemented high-impact projects across the length and breadth of the country that meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians. And this is in recognition of the importance of critical infrastructure in economic development and the quest of this administration to leave a lasting legacy.

“In the din of politicking, naysayers have attempted to play down the massive and the unprecedented achievements of this administration.

Some presidential candidates have even released a poorly-done photocopy of this administration’s achievements as their own blueprint.

“But the series we are starting today will leave them breathless as we cover all the achievements in the various sectors.

“Despite attempts in some circles to downplay the achievements of this administration, I have no scintilla of doubt that history will be fairer and posterity will be kind to us.”

According to him, “those whose trips have been shortened and smoothened by good roads and bridges will remember those who built those roads and bridges; those who use the modern terminals at our airports will remember who built them.

“Those who ride on modern trains along Lagos-Ibadan, Abuja-Kaduna and Itakpe-Warri will not forget those who made that happen.

“And the 9.8 million school children who are fed daily, the one million youths that have been empowered as well as the 500,000 who are undergoing trainings under the N-Power and the 1,632,480 households that have been enrolled in the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme will not forget,” Fashola said.