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Second Niger Bridge will boost trade activities – Ahmed

By Godwin Ijediogor (South-South Bureau Chief, Asaba)
03 April 2022   |   4:27 am
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has expressed optimism that the completion and inauguration of the Second Niger Bridge...

Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning

NSIA MD: Compensation Ongoing

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has expressed optimism that the completion and inauguration of the Second Niger Bridge, scheduled for the third quarter of this year, will boost trade and commercial activities in the South South and South East geopolitical zones.
 
Ahmed, after an inspection tour of the project, along with the Managing Director of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr. Uche Orji, and Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Gilbert Ibezim, as well as top officials of the ministry and the contractors, yesterday, stated that the bridge was designed to uplift the lives of the people of the South South and South East.
 
“Today is a very significant day in the construction circle of the Second Niger Bridge, which is one of the most iconic projects in the country put at an initial project cost of N205b. Today, we have expanded this project to the tune of N157b. 

 
“I have come to see where this money is going into. It is worthy to also note that the two parts of the bridge are being linked today in a final touch in fully completing the project, which is significant.
 
“For me, as a representative of the Federal Government, I have seen where all the N107b has gone into. This is a project that is very dear to President Muhammadu Buhari.”

Orji explained that the Presidential Development Fund is managed by NSIA, which has put in its own funds and some monies from the recovered Abacha loot; hence the funding is by the federal government and NSIA, adding: “So, it is purely the federal government and NSIA that is the face of the project.”
 
NSIA is an investment institution owned by the federal, states and local governments, as well as shareholders. 
He stated that compensation is an ongoing affair, noting: “We have paid significant sums earlier and there are more yet to be paid in some areas as we continue work.

 
“Outside the 1.6 kilometre bridge, there are is still 17 kilometres of access roads on the Asaba and Onitsha sides of the bridge. Assessment is being made for compensation,” he said, adding,”I can assure you that the directive we have from the President, the minister and our Board is to ensure that adequate compensation is paid everybody affected.”
 
Ahmed later applauded the construction workers on site, working round thye clock towards completion of the project, noting that the project has led to the employment of about 20,000 people from the two states and other neighbouring states. 
 
She disclosed that the Infrastructure Development Fund created by the president was designed to fund the project, as well as the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and Abuja-Kaduna-Kano highway, noting that it is the one that is most advanced of the three. 
 
“The Federal Government provided seed funds, through budgetary allocations and special funding, including recoveries from some of the Abacha loot, while the NSIA invested its own funds and investors funds in this project, meaning that investors that might have deposited money for this project are also expecting returns on their investments,” she stated.