Buhari inaugurates N206.1bn 2nd Niger Bridge
President Muhammad Buhari on Tuesday inaugurated the multi-billion naira 1.6km second Niger bridge.
Speaking virtually at the occasion held at the Bridge Head by Toll, Asaba end of the bridge, Buhari said infrastructure development was deliberately a key focal point of his administration to create wealth and make poverty alleviation easier.
“We do not act on infrastructure by accident. It has been a deliberate choice for our government as a tool to fight poverty, to create economic growth and employment and to open the path of prosperity for our people,” he said.
The President said he shared the concerns of Nigerians about the debt profile of the country, noting however that the debts were tied to projects that have been executed in very transparent circumstances.
Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, who represented President Buhari at the occasion said by the completion of the N206.2 billion project which idea was conceived about 40 years ago by the Alhaji Shehu Shagari administration, people who had for decades been playing politics with it have now been put out of business.
“Today is a great day, and my joy knows no bounds. The inauguration of the second Niger Bridge today is President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise made and kept.
“Since the construction of the first bridge, when the need to have a second bridge was identified, it had been promised upon promises but without action or political will to embark on the project, hence it became an object of ridiculous politics by politicians until President Buhari came along and insisted that he was determined to complete the all-important project.
“The second Niger Bridge signals the major handshake between the South-West, South-East and the North.”
Ngige who is a one-time governor of Anambra state, wished Buhari a peaceful rest when he finally returns to Daura in a few days’ time.
In his remarks, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola who explained the significance of the projects to include providing means of livelihood for hundreds of thousands who worked while the construction lasted said:
“Travel time is reduced by more than 50% in many of the places we surveyed; property values of landowners have appreciated by up to 30% in the surveys conducted on land values where we have delivered infrastructure,” Fashola stated.
The Minister added that these were some of the attempts by the government to push back against multi-dimensional poverty.
The Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa who was represented by his Chief of staff, Ovie Agas, while congratulating Buhari for successfully delivering the bridge as he promised, said no doubt, the bridge would boost economic activities between Delta and Anambra as well as other parts of the country.
On his part, Gov Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra state listed four other critical projects that should assuage the Easterners including the creation of more maritime access to the sea through the development of the Onitsha port on the Niger; the dredging of the Niger from Onitsha to Lokoja; laying of a gas pipeline; and; development of a railway line across the South-East states.
According to him, by the inauguration of the Second Niger Bridge, the federal government has provided one of the five critical infrastructures needed to open and serve as a real economic game changer for the international community of the entire South-East geopolitical zone.
Governor of Imo state, Hope Uzodimma described Buhari as his own hero saying the regular nightmare on the old Niger Bridge, especially during the yuletide, will now be a thing of the past.
Among eminent personalities at the occasion include the President-General of Ohaneze Nd’Igbo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuayanwu, the Obi of Onitsha, HRM Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe and the Asagba of Asaba, Obi Prof Chike Edozien who were both represented.
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