N336bn for 2nd Niger Bridge intact, says Ngige.

The Minister of Labor and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has said the N336bn budgeted for the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge is intact.

He said the money for the project had been set aside by the Federal Government so that the project would not suffer any setback.

Ngige, who spoke to The PUNCH‘s correspondent in Awka, Anambra State, said the bridge was “speedily going on” with about 45 percent work done.

He said, “The 2nd Niger Bridge is ongoing. The contractor has made an undertaking on his own to deliver the project before the appointed date of 2022 and handover.

“We believe them because they’re working day and night. Apart from the little hiccup occasioned by demands for compensation, they’re on schedule. The job is on 45% completion and the fund for the construction is intact.

“That is the good news for the people of the South East. The cost of the bridge from exit route of Delta and South- East, South- South is about N336bn, and the money is available unlike the Obasanjo/Jonathan arrangements when they were trying to look for PPP.

“Now, we’re building the bridge as one of the five flagship projects of the Federal Government, which are- Lagos/Ibadan, East-West Road, 2nd Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kaduna-Kano, and Mabilla.

“Work has started in all these because money is guaranteed. The 2nd Niger Bridge which concerns me and you and people of South-South, South-West and North-Central is on course. It’s a very strategic bridge that links both North, South East, South South, South-West.

“It’s a very cheering news because during the time of PPP, I opposed it in the Senate and I had a very serious altercation at the South-East caucus meeting with the then deputy senate president, Ekweremadu, the Ministry of Finance and then SGF Anyim Pius. I blasted them that they’ve not treated us well. Whereas, others were getting bridges that are toll-free these people are giving us toll bridge.

Ngige added, “The 2nd Niger Bridge is toll free for now. When are going to toll, we’ll toll all the federal roads and bridges all together. So it’s not a question of tolling the bridge to recoup our money.”

The minister contended that most roads labelled federal roads by state governors were not not federal road in the real sense of it.

“I’m one of those who believe that the federal roads in the whole of Nigeria should be tolled. As a matter of fact, a lot of roads they call federal roads, I don’t believe they are federal roads.

“The federal roads are the ones we call trunk A roads that lead to state capitals. The state government should face other roads in their domain and build them like we did when I was the governor working in Anambra.”

First Seen on Punch News, written by Tony Okafor.