The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has set May 15, 2023 as the expected completion date for the Second Niger Bridge, which still has four kilometers to go.
Fashola revealed the completion date on Monday during Channel Television’s program which was monitored by BizWatch Nigeria.
When asked when the project would be completed, he stated, “What we expect is around the 15th of May, or thereabouts, is the timeline we have…. The bridge is finished, as is one side of the link road. It’s still four kilometers to go.”
On the ever-changing expected delivery dates, the minister emphasized the role of “local circumstances,” such as the sit-at-home order every Monday for the past two years, which he claims has slowed the work.
“If you look at the number of days we’ve lost over two years, you must factor it into some of these moving targets,” he said.
Fashola also stated that there are compensation issues that the public is unaware of, such as the relocation of 132kVA transmission lines and a power outage.
The minister argued that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration deserves praise because, while his principal’s 2015 campaign promised to boost the economy, infrastructure was not central to the three-point agenda.
“But I don’t see what you can realistically do in any economy where the infrastructure is aging, insufficient, and broken. So, infrastructure is just a means to get the economy back on the road,” he said.
“One party said, ‘We will privatise it.’ We’ve seen the attempt to privatise the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and for 16 years, they didn’t produce a road. We saw the attempt to privatise the Second Niger Bridge and for about five or six years, between 2010 and 2015, there was no bridge.
“This government understands that this is a social investment, that government has to lead that investment. We have made that investment. The bridge is finished. The Onitsha side road is essentially finished. It’s the link road on the Asaba side [that’s left].”