Pamela Eboh, Awka
Work has finally commenced for the construction of the Second Niger Bridge that would link the South-South and the South-East geo political zones to support the existing one which is already wearing out.
Speaking yesterday in the commercial city of Onitsha during a television interview, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said that the federal executive council had approved N14 billion to enable Julius Berger, the contractor handling the project, to commence work.
Ngige had said that in addition to the N14 billion, the Federal Government would release another N16 billion this year for the construction of the bridge, adding that the amount was accommodated in the 2017 budget.
He noted that the redesigned bridge would have a railway line that would connect Asaba in Delta State with Onitsha in Anambra State to ease the pressure of heavy duty vehicles using the bridge to transport goods.
The Minister urged the people not to stand in the way of the project by making what he called unnecessary demands in the form of compensation adding that the construction when completed will be of enormous benefit to the state.
“This is a project that previous administrations played politics with and the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari has decided to ensure its realization. Our people should not allow the issue of compensation to hinder the construction work because of its enormous benefits to the people,” he said.
Ngige noted that apart from the 2nd Niger Bridge, work had also started on the Enugu-Onitsha and Nnewi- Okigwe federal highways, as well as the Enugu-Aba-Port Harcourt expressway.
When News Express visited the second Niger bridge site, there were serious signs on ground to show that work would begin in earnest at the sight soon.
Some construction workers were seen surveying the area where former President Goodluck Jonathan performed the ground-breaking ceremony during the twilight of his administration to kick off the project.
Also some people dressed as day job workers were also seen milling around the area perhaps for jobs.
•Prototype of the Second Niger Bridge.