The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has given May 15 as the expected date of delivery for the Second Niger Bridge with four kilometres until completion.
Fashola made the disclosure during a live appearance on Channels Television’s The 2023 Verdict on Monday.
Asked when the project will be delivered, he said, “What we expect is around the 15th of May, thereabout, is the timeline we have…. The bridge is finished; one side of the link road is completed. It remains four kilometres of work.”
On the ever-changing expected dates of delivery, the minister reiterated the role of “local circumstances”, such as the sit-at-home order every Monday for the last two years, which according to him have slowed down the work.
“If you look at the number of days we’ve lost over two years, you must factor it into some of these moving targets,” he said.
Fashola also stated that there are compensation issues people are not aware of, including the relocation of 132kVA transmission lines and a power shutdown.
The minister argued that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari deserves praise because, according to him, while his principal’s 2015 campaign promised to boost the economy, infrastructure was not central to the three-point agenda.
“But I don’t see what you can realistically do in any economy where the infrastructure is aging, insufficient, and broken. So, infrastructure is just a means to get the economy back on the road,” he said.
“One party said, ‘We will privatise it.’ We’ve seen the attempt to privatise the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and for 16 years, they didn’t produce a road. We saw the attempt to privatise the Second Niger Bridge and for about five or six years, between 2010 and 2015, there was no bridge.
“This government understands that this is a social investment, that government has to lead that investment. We have made that investment. The bridge is finished. The Onitsha side road is essentially finished. It’s the link road on the Asaba side [that’s left].”