The Federal Government says it is currently funding the construction of the over N250bn Second Niger Bridge project, after talks with private partners collapsed and stalled work on the site.
According to the government, construction work on phases one to three of the project had been completed, while early works on phase four was ongoing.
The Special Adviser on Communications to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Hakeem Bello, and the Federal Controller of Works, Anambra State, Innocent Alumonah, gave the explanation on Saturday.
They told SUNDAY PUNCH that the era of Public Private Partnership for the construction of the bridge had passed.
“The government is funding the project. The PPP model wasn’t working and that was why construction work on the project stalled for a while. So in order to make progress, the government decided to take it up, as well as make budgetary provision for it,” Bello said.
Confirming the special adviser’s position, Alumonah said, “The era of PPP is over and it is fully funded by the government this time.”
On whether the government has the fund to go ahead with the project, the controller said, “Of course, the government has the fund. Why are you afraid about whether government has the fund or not? The Federal Government has decided to fund the bridge and we are happy to see that.”
He explained how the government had awarded contracts for the project in phases, adding that phases one to three had been completed, while the early works were ongoing on phase four.
Alumonah said, “The government has awarded the contract in phases and we have completed phases one to three. We are now on the early works for phase four, which constitutes a part of the main bridge. The major work for a bridge of this nature has to do with the foundation and pillars and we are working on them right now.”
Commenting on the cost of the bridge, Alumonah stated that several billions of naira had been invested to realise the project, adding that more funds would be spent to get the bridge standing.
He said, “In the early works phase four, which we are handling now, the cost is around N14.4bn and we are at 70.1 per cent completion stage right now. This is expected to end or be completed by July and between now and that time, we hope the contract for the main bridge will be awarded.”
When asked to state the amount required to fund the contract for the main bridge, the federal controller said over N200bn would be needed.
He added, “From reliable sources, the amount needed for the construction of the main works on the bridge is over N200bn and it is important to state that we have a lot of approach roads that will be connected to the bridge when going into Delta and Anambra states.
“When it is fully constructed, from the Second Niger Bridge you can connect Umunya, Ogbaru and you can cross to Enugu-Onitsha. If you are coming from Delta, there are other approach roads that will connect the bridge in order to ease movement along this axis.”