Anambra Election: Police Announce Closure Of Niger Bridge

Ahead of the Anambra gubernatorial elections set to hold tomorrow, Police in Delta state have announced total closure Niger bridge beefing up security at the Asaba end of the Niger Bridge.

The beefed up security include a stop and search exercise by the police to prevent criminally minded people who may want to cause mayhem during the elections to infiltrate the neighboring state, Anambra.

The commissioner of police in the state, Mr Zanna Ibrahim, in a statement by the Public Relations Officer, Andrew Aniamaka said that restriction will commence from 12 midnight today, November 17 till the elections end.

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“Against the backdrop of the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Anambra state slated for Saturday, November 18, 2017, and the need to prevent security breach around the Niger bridge linking Asaba, Delta state to Onitsha, Anambra state, the commissioner of police in Delta State, Zanna Ibrahim has ordered the restriction of vehicular movements through the Niger bridge with effect from 12 mid-night  Friday, 17th November, 2017 till after the elections.”

The Commissioner of Police notes that only those on official and emergency duties with genuine means of identification will be allowed passage during the period of the restriction order.

Ibrahim said commuters, especially those traveling to the South-East and South-South States should take alternative routes or make do with other contingency plans as the restriction order is in the overall interest of public well-being and safety.

The popular Niger bridge connects the Southeastern Nigeria with Western Nigeria over the River Niger linking Asaba in Delta state.

Since its construction in December 1965, it has proven to become relevant to the growth of the Nigerian economy, serving as a means to ease transportation, fostering trade and investment.

Ahead of tomorrow’s gubernatorial elections in Anambra state, the Delta State police command had announced the closure of the bridge in order to prevent any security breach around the Niger Bridge linking Asaba, Delta state to Onitsha, Anambra State.

Second Niger Bridge: We’re Not Making Promises For Nothing – Osinbajo

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has restated the commitment of the Federal Government in completing the second Nigeria Bridge in the South East.

He made this known during the flag-off of the governorship campaign of the All Progressives Congress in Onitsha area of Anambra State, adding that funds have been made available for the project from the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).

Speaking at the rally, the Vice President had said the amount released for the project was $2billion, which is the total value of the SWF as of September 2017.

“We are not making promises for nothing. The second Niger Bridge, we have been talking about it for a long time. But for the first time, President Muhammadu Buhari went by himself to negotiate the facility to do that second Niger Bridge,” the Vice President said.

“And that is why the second Niger Bridge is in our current budget and we have provided for it. In fact, I am being reminded that just two days ago, the Sovereign Wealth Fund paid $2billion for that same project. So, we will definitely see our second Niger Bridge. We will not make promises we cannot keep.”

However, some four hours later, the spokesperson to the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, issued a statement, in which put the amount released at N2bn.

After his comments about the Second Niger Bridge, the VP had gone on to claim that the previous administrations abandoned the Lagos-Calabar railway project, stressing that it has been revived under the APC-led Federal Government.

“When we were talking of railway, Lagos-Calabar railway, under the old administration, I will not mention them by name.

“They said Lagos-Calabar will go from Lagos to Calabar, there was no connection to the South-East. It was when President Muhammadu Buhari came that we redesigned the Lagos-Calabar in order to pass through Onitsha in the first place.

“By that new design, we also have the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway that has a connection to Umuahia-Owerri and Enugu-Awka. So all of those, we will not make promises we cannot keep. Every promise we make, we will keep,” he added.

Speaking further, Mr Osinbajo also stresses that Anambra was the first state to benefit from the school feeding initiative that has employed over a thousand cooks and fed over a hundred thousand.

He added, “This state was the first state to receive our home-grown school feeding. This Anambra was the very first state that we gave money for that programme. And we have already in 807 schools, here in Anambra state where these young children (primary schools) are already fed.

“We have over a hundred thousand children that are already fed here in Anambra state, and that is an APC programme, our home-grown school feeding programme. We have engaged over a thousand cooks, over a thousand people are cooking. We have our N-Power programme for young graduates. Already we have employed over 4,000 graduates and we intend to increase the number.”

Conflicting Death Figures Trail Pro-Biafra Police Clash

Biafra-protestersConflicting death toll trails the violence that erupted after pro-Biafra protesters clashed with security operatives at the bridge head axis of Onitsha, Anambra State.

Some accounts say between nine and thirteen people died in the protest, the Nigerian police say only one person, a policeman lost his life in the clash.

Other accounts allege that the JTF comprising the Army, Navy, Police and Civil Defence troops opened fire at protesting members of the Indigenous People Of Biafra, (IPOB), and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, (MASSOB) which killed about nine people and injured 18.

Traffic flow has however resumed after over twelve hours gridlock occasioned by agitating members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB).


Normalcy Returns To Anambra As Pro-Biafra Protesters Leave Scene

Biafra-protestersThe pro-Biafra protesters who blocked the Onitsha end of the Niger Bridge in Anambra State have left the scene.

According to our reporter, some level of normalcy is returning as the road is now open.

The protesters numbering over 100 took over the entire road for over ten hours forcing travellers and motorists to remain on one spot.

According to an eyewitness, the protesters who were agitating for the release of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, have shown no sign of ending the siege.

Earlier on Tuesday, some pro-Biafra protesters, seeking the actualisation of the nation of Biafra, blocked the Onitsha-Owerri expressway in eastern Nigeria, truncating business activities in one of the nation’s major commercial cities, Onitsha.

According to an eyewitness, the protesters, who were agitating for the release of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, showed no sign of ending the siege which lasted for more than six hours, leaving commuters and motorists stranded.

Mr Kanu is standing trial on a three-count charge of criminal conspiracy, intimidation belonging to an unlawful society which he has pleaded not guilty to.

His trial on Tuesday was stalled due to the absence of the judge.

Second Niger Bridge Commencement Ceremony To Hold March 10

Niger bridgeThe Nigerian government will on March 10 perform the ground breaking ceremony for the second Niger Bridge.

President Jonathan told a delegation of Anambra State citizens, who were in the presidential villa on a courtesy visit on Tuesday that the work on the bridge would begin immediately after the ceremony in fulfillment of his campaign promise before he became the president in 2011.

The Anambra citizens came in the company of the outgoing governor, Peter Obi, whose tenure will expire on the March 17.

They thanked the Federal Government for the planned flag-off of the second Niger Bridge project, pledging their support for the government to ensure that the bridge is completed within the stipulated time.

President Jonathan paid glowing tribute to Governor Obi, saying that acrimony between governors and the president does not help in the development of any state.

He commended the governor for demonstrating clearly that he was a good person, citing examples of how he was able to manage a House of Assembly that was predominantly controlled by an opposing political party and his contributions to the economic management team.

The group thanked the president for his support to the outgoing governor and urged the president to extend the same support to the incoming governor Mr Willie Obiano.

The first Niger Bridge was built in 1965 and cost £5 million. The increasing vehicular movement had triggered the need for a second bridge to ease the pressure on the old bridge and at the same time create free movement of vehicles into the commercial city of Onitsha.  

Construction Of Second Niger Bridge To Commence – Minister

Work is expected to commence over the next few weeks on the construction of the second Niger Bridge which will link the eastern part of Nigeria to other parts of the country.

Minister of works, Mike Onolememen told journalists after a closed door meeting that German construction company, Julius Berger won the bid to execute the contract after 13 months rigorous procurement process.

He said the second phase of the project which includes detailed project survey and environmental impact assessment that will lead to preliminary site work will commence in the coming weeks.

Senate Charges Works Ministry To Commence Work On Niger Bridge

 The Senate has urged the Federal Ministry of Works to commence immediate repairs of the Niger Bridge and take urgent action to commence work on the second bridge across the river.

The upper chamber also directed its Committee on Works to carry out investigation with the Ministry of Works and proffer immediate solution to the poor state of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.

The federal lawmakers made these recommendations after two lawmakers brought up the issue of the poor state of the Niger and Third Mainland Bridges.

Senator Hope Uzodinma pointed out the worsening condition of the River Niger Bridge and the need for the federal government to ensure that the second bridge becomes a reality.

Senator Gbenga Ashafa, who moved the motion on the Third Mainland Bridge, noted that if the deplorable condition of the bridge is not addressed immediately, it could lead to a national disaster.

The Third Mainland Bridge which measures 11.8 km is the longest bridge in the country and connects the Lagos Mainland to the Island.

It was built by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and Borini Prono, and commissioned by former military president Ibrahim Babangida in 1990.

The Federal Ministry of Works completed repair works on the bridge in October 2012.

However, some of the lawmakers are of the opinion that the repair works done on the bridge is not sufficient.

Christmas: Travellers Trek To Avoid Asaba-Onitsha Expressway Traffic

As the yuletides season approaches commuters who travelled to the South Eastern part of Nigeria to join their families in celebrating this season are contending with heavy vehicular movements and poor state of the roads.

In this report, Channels Television’s correspondents spoke with some commuters who recount their experiences on the road which is a major gateway to the southwest, including the Enugu-Onitsha Road, the Onitsha-Owerri Road, 9th Mile-Obollo Afor Road, as well as the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway.

FEC approves $77.73 million water project loan for Lagos and Cross River states

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a loan facility of $77.73 million to support urban water projects for Lagos and Cross River states.

Briefing State House correspondents after the council meeting, minister of information, Mr. Labaran Maku said the loan granted by the International Development Agency (IDA) is been given on a concessionary ground to the two states to rehabilitate urban water works.

While Cross River state will take $43.92 million, Lagos will take $33.83 million.

FEC also approved a contract for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to commence the rehabilitation of the ECOWAS parliament building located in theAsokoro District of the FCT. The facility which is said to have gone into a state of disrepair was awarded to the Julius Berger to the tune of N3.43 billion.

A contract for the construction of what it called a “strategic road” linking Sagbemi-Kiribo-Gada-Egbekigbo in Ondo state at the cost of N3.55 billion was also approved by the council. The road which is a 23 kilometer stretch is part of the post amnesty projects of the Niger Delta Ministry.

Apart from holding the council meeting in the First Lady’s conference room, the president used the opportunity to receive the trophies and plaques Nigerian nurses and midwives won in a recent Maternal and Child Health Competition held in India.

FEC apologized for the poor quality of telecommunication operators in the country and promised to raise sanctions for defaulting operators.

Apart from the contracts approved, the federal executive council is to spend another N454 million for the augmentation of the contract on the Ibadan-Ilorin road while the rehabilitation of the service lane on the Niger Bridge will cost N2.393 billion.



FEC approves N325 million contract for second Niger Bridge

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the contract for the designing, building, financing and operation of the second Niger Bridge linking Anambra and Delta states under the private partnership scheme.

The consultancy contract for the final planning and design of the second Niger Bridge will cost N325 million.

Briefing State House correspondents on the contract, the Minister of Works, Mr Mike Onolememen said that the bridge forms a major link between the South-east and the South-west sub regions of the country.

He noted that the Federal Government is concerned about the challenges the old Niger Bridge has posed to road users on the route and expressed the government’s desire to take immediate action by constructing a second Niger bridge that will ease traffic on the axis.

Also approved is contract for the dualisation of the Kano-Maiduguri road, Section Two, at the cost of N8.3 million to complement the development effort of the Jigawa state government.

President Goodluck Jonathan was said to have received a report by the Jigawa state governor on the need to extend the road from Dutse – the capital of Jigawa state to the some part of the Kano-Maiduguri expressway, an extension of about 24.2 km.

The governor is building an airport and some housing estates there, hence the need for the dualisation of the Kano-Maiduguri expressway.

The council also approved the expansion of the 2.8 KM dual carriage road connecting the Apakun-Murtala Mohammed Airport road to a modern eight lane that will provide smooth movement of traffic. The contract was approved at N297million.

The expansion of the Airport road was one of the key campaign pledges made by President Goodluck Jonathan during his election campaigns in Lagos ahead of the 2011 presidential election.

While the Minister of Works asserted that the Jonathan administration has taken a firm step to deliver on the Onitsha Bridge, he also added that the importance of the Murtala Muhammed Airport road cannot be underestimated, noting that the road which has been in a state of disrepair will be re-designed to eight lanes.

Profiting from Olympic Games

The council also deliberated on the business angle of the 2012 Olympic Games currently holding in the United Kingdom.

According to the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Segun Aganga, a forum was put together by the Bank of Industry and the forum was said to have drawn global attention to Nigeria.

There was also a report on the recent trip of President Goodluck Jonathan to the Caribbean, while Jamaica was marking its 50 years of independence; Trinidad and Tobago marked its emancipation.

According to the council, the visit also projected Nigeria positively to the rest of the world.

It was also revealed that the people in the two Caribbean nations are now interested in tracing their ancestry to Nigeria.

The council agreed that despite the odds, Nigeria is a power house in global diplomacy and the FEC urged Nigerians at home to take such international recognition seriously.