The Second Niger bridge being executed by the Buhari administration is one of the most iconic projects in Nigeria, Finance Budget and National Planning Minister Zainab Ahmed, has said. The minister, who expressed satisfaction at the pace and quality of work done on the Second Niger Bridge by both the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and Julius Berger, also described it as a very significant project for the Federal Government.
Mrs. Ahmed disclosed this while leading other top government officials on an inspection tour of the site on Saturday.
According to her, the government attached so much importance to the Second Niger Bridge project because of the huge developmental impact it would have on the lives of Nigerians.
“Today is a very significant day in the construction circle of the second Niger bridge. This is one of the most iconic projects in the country and has an initial contract cost of N205 billion.
“Today, we have been able to fund this project with N157bn and I’m here to see where all this money is going to. And also, the significance of today is that the two ends of the bridge are being put together and this is the final phase of the work in truly completing the project and the finishing work of the bridge.
“So technically, I can report to Mr President that I have seen where all the N157bn has gone to. This is a project that is very dear to the President and it is designed to uplift the lives and livelihood of the people of the South-East and other parts of the country.
“We do hope that when this project comes on stream, it will ease traffic, will enhance commercial activities and improve the lives of the people of the state.
“Julius Berger has brought some very unique innovations in the construction of this project and I want to on behalf of the government and people of Nigeria applaud the skills of the construction workers that have been working on this site.
“This project has been going on 24/7 and people are working in shift and people that are working within here are within the surrounding states. Jobs have been created up to about 20,000 people are working on this project,” Ahmed said.
Speaking on the funding structure of the project, the Managing Director of NSIA, Mr Uche Orji, said the second Niger bridge is one of the three projects being funded from the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund.
He said: “What we have seen on ground is very important. April 2 for us marks the end of civil work of the bridge and we needed to leave here today.
“And as you can see, casting is going on at the moment. So, it’s a very iconic period for us and it is unique because of the timing of the finance minister who came and witnessed it.
“So, this is a day we should remember because after this, in few hours, people can drive through it. And that marks the completion of the civil works and from here, it remains the finishing touches. So, this is very important.”
Persecondnews.com recalls that the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, had last month led a team of senior government officials including Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola to inspect the progress of work on the bridge, primed to link major cities in the Southeast and Southsouth with the rest of the country.
Explaining the project to the presidential entourage, the Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Ltd, Mr Lars Richter, disclosed that the level of work on the bridge had reached 93 percent.
Also, Fashola, who led the presidential entourage on the inspection of the project, explained that with the completion of concrete work on the bridge, the minor alignments on the structure would be wrapped up before the end of April.