The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday inspected the Second Niger Bridge in continuation of his ongoing tour of federal government projects across the country, and expressed satisfaction at the pace of work on the bridge.
“I am very excited because the thing about this project is that because of the alignment, people travelling on the old bridge will say nothing is going on because they cannot see it, but you have come here and you can see the amount of work that is going on, so I’m very very excited,” the Minister told the journalists who accompanied him on the tour.
Alhaji Mohammed, who inspected construction work at the Asaba and Onitsha ends of the bridge, said when completed, the bridge will ease traffic congestion on the road as well as change the socio-economic landscape of the South-east and South-South geo-political zones in particular.
He commended the enthusiasm with which the contractor, Julius Berger, is handling the project and gave the assurance that henceforth, funding will no longer be a challenge for the construction of such projects.
“I think one thing that this government has assured is that funding won’t be a problem because we have many sources of funding and I think the latest is the Presidential Infrastructural Development Fund, which is actually aimed at ensuring that no project like this suffers for lack of funding,” the Minister said.
He said having achieved tremendous success with the sub-structural work, the project will now witness rapid progress.
While briefing journalists on the level of work on the bridge, the Federal Controller of Works for Anambra State, Mr. Innocent Alumona, said so far phases 1, 2 and 3, which have to do with the foundation, have been completed, and that the contractor is currently on Phase Four, which will end in July this year.
“A lot of people are saying no work is going on on the Second Niger Bridge because they have not been opportune to visit the site. The Federal Government actually is not sleeping. A lot of money has been spent in the process of realizing the Second Niger Bridge, and as we go further, we will show you a lot that has been done to prove to some of us – who are still doubting that nothing is happening at the Second Niger Bridge – that a lot is ongoing,” he said.
Mr. Alumona said some 310 of the 615 piles designed for the bridge have been sunk, while massive sand-filling of the approach road has been carried out to the height of five metres.
At least 400 Nigerians are currently employed by the contractor handling the project, which is expected to be completed within the next two years.