Posted by News Express | 26 April 2014 | 3,784 times
Work has stopped on the Second Niger Bridge barely one month after President Goodluck Jonathan performed the groundbreaking ceremony amid fanfare.
Speaking at that occasion in Onitsha, Anambra State, on March 10, President Jonathan had allayed fears that the project might be abandoned or only used as a political gimmick, assuring that it would be completed not only as scheduled but also according to specification.
He described the Second Niger Bridge as being critical to his administration’s resolve to improve the economic fortunes of the country, saying it as a fulfillment of one of his campaign promises.
However, the project has run into a hitch rather too soon. Explaining why work stopped on the project, Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam, said yesterday in Abuja that the Federal Government erred in commencing work on the bridge without consideration for the Environmental Impact Assessment Law (EIA). The Nation this morning quoted her as telling a Turkish delegation during a courtesy call on her that the bridge construction had to be suspended because “they did not comply with our ministry’s rule.”
“The Minister of works had to run to me so that we might give them certificate to resume work,” Mrs. Mallam said.
The paper quoted Director, Environmental Impact Assessment Director, Mr. Kehinde Odusanya, who was with the minister, as saying in response to a question: “Because of the national interest in that particular project, the Federal Ministry of Works had to request for an interim approval just to commence preparation activities.”
Awarded to popular German construction company Julius Berger, the Second Niger Bridge is scheduled to be completed within 48 months. The project is designed to be executed under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement for a concessional period of 25 years through the Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DPFOT) model.
Works Minister, Arch. Mike Onolememen, had during the groundbreaking ceremony described the project as part of the transformation agenda of Jonathan’s administration. He noted that the second Niger Bridge was long overdue, adding that it is 1,590 metres long and forms part of the 11.90 km length project which construction cost is put at N117,860,700,741. 82, VAT inclusive.
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