Nwanosike Onu, Awka
President Muhammadu Buhari and Julius Berger Plc have assured the people of the Southeast that the 2022 date for the completion of the Second Niger Bridge is sacrosanct despite the challenges.
Anambra and Delta states governors, Chief Willie Obiano and Sen Ifeanyi Okowa, assured the President that they will make sure peace reigns in the host communities in their states
But the Obi of Onitsha, Alfred Achebe, is worried that the mausoleum built as the resting place for the great Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe by the federal government has been taking over by weed.
The Obi of Onitsha therefore pleaded with the federal government to hand over the mausoleum to the people of Onitsha, adding that the late first Nigerian President, Zik, was adored by the Igbo and would not allow anything that would ridicule him.
The Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashiola, SAN, conveyed the President’s message in a town hall meeting to host communities in Anambra and Delta states on Friday.
He said despite the COVID-19 and conflicts in 2020 which had delayed the job in one way or the other, the 2022 date would not be changed, adding that the only thing that could change was the month.
“The President asked me to assure you that nothing would stop the completion of the project in 2022.
“The project is on course, thanks to the governors of Anambra and Delta States, their excellencies Willie Obiano and Ifeanyi Okowa, for their efforts in returning normalcy here.
“Notwithstanding the initial conflict and COVID-19 heat, the project will be delivered as scheduled in 2022. The President is committed to that date,” he said.
Fashola said the project would cost the Federal Government N414 billion, calling for peace, sacrifice and patience from the host communities.
“This is huge investment. We need peace to finish this work. We need patience. We need some sacrifice. We shall remediate what you go through. You will not be left behind; we shall control the flooding resulting from the construction.
“Compensation is a big issue. It will be better for the state governments of Anambra and Delta states engage the host communities while we deal with the state governments about issues of compensation.
“But the government does not have all the money. Even if oil price drops further, this project must continue.
Reacting on Zik’s masoluem, which he had earlier inspected, Fashola said a management board had been constituted to handle the place so that the facility would not go into disuse.
He however called for concerted efforts in keeping the place in order, stating: “Zik belongs to all of us.”
Governors Willie Obiano and Ifeanyi Okowa thanked Buhari for ensuring that the 2nd Niger Bridge project stayed alive.