By Yemi Adebowale
Contrary to the widely reported allegation by Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole that N140 billion was expended on Consultancy services on the 2nd Niger Bridge Project and that there was nothing on ground to show for it, former Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen vehemently refuted the claims stating that the 2nd Niger Bridge Project was procured as a Public Private Partnership project under the Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) model.
According to Onolememen, this implies that the successful concessionaire, JB-NSIA Consortium has responsibility for the Design, Finance and Construction of the project, as well as its operation and maintenance for a concessionary period of 25 years.
“The total project cost is N108 billion (excluding Duties and Value Added Tax) with a completion period of about 48 months. This cost was arrived at, after Bureau of Public Procurement’s review of the Concessionaire’s submitted cost of N138 billion. The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), guided by the Transaction Adviser, Roughton International, agreed to provide a refundable Catalytic Funding of N30 Billion.
“By May 2015, N10 billion Catalytic Funding was paid from the Federal Ministry of Works’ SURE-P Budget to fast track the early and sub-structural works of the bridge. Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan performed the Ground Breaking ceremony on 10th March 2014. The Bridge located at about 2km downstream the existing Niger Bridge in Onitsha, has recorded impressive progress.
“One wonders therefore, the intentions of Governor Adams Oshiomhole in deliberately mis-informing Nigerians on the true status of the 2nd Niger Bridge. Rather than give in to such mis- information and sensationalism, the completion of the project, vis-à-vis sustaining the interest of the international investors that have signified interests in the project should be paramount.
“It is also pertinent to call on Governor Oshiomhole, for the sake of our collective national interest, to tell Nigerians the source of his information about his alleged N140 billion-consultancy cost for a project with a total cost of N108 billion only. As a senior public officer, it is expected that the Comrade Governor would have crosschecked his facts before jumping to make such wild and spurious allegations. Otherwise, Governor Oshiomhole should tender unreserved apology to Nigerians for misleading the public on this project”, Onolememen said.
The following progress photographs of the Second Niger Bridge Project indicate the level of work carried out on site as at 13th August, 2015.