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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Work begins soon on 2nd N/Bridge, Zik Mausoleum - Fashola

Work will soon be­gin on the Second Niger Bridge, the Minister of Works, Housing and Power, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said.
 He also said that the completion of the late Nnamdi Azikiwe’s Mauso­leum and the reconstruc­tion of the Onitsha-Enu­gu Expressway will equally take off.
Fashola spoke on Mon­day when he visited Onitsha, Anambra State, to assess on­going and abandoned Feder­al Government’s projects in the state.
At the site of the Second Niger Bridge, the minister said that it will be complet­ed very soon, adding that he came for assessment of the project in order to fast-track its completion.
He said: “The compen­sation is not extinguished by the fact that the bridge is being built, so nobody gains by stopping the con­struction of the bridge; no­ body gains by stopping the construction of the access road. The access road from the Onitsha end and Asaba end that are under design, need to be quickly complet­ed.
“As you might be aware, this bridge was conceived as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the Federal Government and some oth­er investors.
Essentially, this was the first Nigerian free move to­wards the PPP and comes with a lot of challenges. The investors do not understand the host communities and so they will not commit money until they are sure there will be no more hostility; they want commitment in writ­ing and by conduct to be sure that if they commit money into the project it will not be stopped by court actions and injunctions or by acts of vi­olence”.
“So, those are the assur­ances that I came here to seek and bring the commit­ment of the Federal Gov­ernment to ensuring that this bridge, which is one of the largest infrastructural projects under this admin­istration will be completed as soon as possible,” he said.

Fashola continued: “I have been briefed since my assumption of office of the status of work and also the issues relating to lands, com­pensation issues, and identi­fication of appropriate land owners. There are issues about the wholesomeness or lack thereof of environ­mental social impact as­sessment studies conduct­ed. I have also been briefed about the letters written by His Royal Highness to rec­ommend certain persons to help in identifying and rep­resenting the interest of the land-owning families.

“In my meetings with the contracting firms, I have made it very clear to them that not only must this bridge leave transport asset behind, it must leave the eco­nomic prosperity behind for the people who host it.”

Governor Willie Obiano, in his remarks, urged the Federal Government to re­fund the N43.8 billion owed the state on the federal pro­jects it handled.
He also appealed to the minister to rehabilitate the collapsed Enugu-Onitsha Expressway and revive the Nnewi power station, among other projects.

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