The Federal Government has approved the continuation of work on the Second Niger Bridge, several months after it was suspended by President Muhammadu Buhari in a bid to review the contract award.
The important bridge, which will run across Anambra and Delta States, is estimated to cost over N130 billion through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and complement the first Niger Bridge which serves as a major link between the South East and South West geopolitical zones.
President Buhari and his team took the decision to revive the project on Wednesday at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which he chaired at the State House, Abuja.
After the meeting, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), told newsmen that some jobs, especially piling works, had been done on the project site and that advanced construction by Julius Berger would begin before next year’s rainy season.
The resumption of work on the bridge will go on while the government concludes concession agreements with investors that will fund a major part of the project.
According to Fashola: “The project was conceived first as a PPP, with government financing, but the investors had not brought themselves and negotiations had not been concluded. It is important to continue to work there.
“Works had been executed there, piling, early works 1 to 3. It is important to continue. Essentially, it is preparatory piling work which can only be done during the low tide, especially at this time of the year before the water levels rise. So, the Council approved that as well as early Works 4.
“Also approved is the outline business case for us to continue discussions to see whether we can successfully conclude a full business case and possibly a concession agreement that would then enable private capital to come in to concluding the remaining works.”
Fashola also announced the approval for the repair of Tambuwawa Bridge between Kaduna and Kano, under the emergency procurement policy.
“The bridge was suffering from scraping and erosion, with its parts exposed as a result of some mining activities there; we got approval for that by Council,” he added.