Buhari’s top priority Is to open Second Niger Bridge to traffic in Dec.’22-Fashola
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has said priority of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is to open the second Niger bridge to traffic by December this year.
The bridge, which was conceived years ago before the Buhari administration came on board, became a reality, following the decision of Federal Government, through the Ministry of Works and Housing, to ensure that a new bridge is put in place to complement the existing one, which is over 50 years old.
Fashola, who spoke while featuring on Television Continental (TVC’s) breakfast show, added that the entire stretch of the bridge has been completed.
The former Lagos State Governor explained that the second Niger Bridge is made up of two component parts – the bridge and other link roads.
Fashola explained that while the link roads at the Onitsha axis of the bridge have been completed, the Asaba link roads are yet to be completed because the ministry is currently settling issues of compensations, but assured that engineers are currently working on site.
He said: “Our priority is to open the second Niger bridge to traffic by December so that those travelling for the season will do so at ease.”
“The link roads at the Onitsha axis of the bridge have also been completed. Where we are having issues is the link roads at the Asaba axis of the bridge. We are currently sorting issues relating to payment of compensation to affected communities, but, as I speak, engineers are on site working and the sand filling is ongoing.
“We are committed to opening the bridge to traffic by December and I can assure you that, with the level of work done, the set target will be met.”
Fashola, who also addressed issues relating to housing, said while the ministry has significantly inaugurated a large number of housing units across the country, a major aspect of the housing sector, which is land, is exclusively controlled by the state.
He urged the state governments to partner with federal government to make affordable housing for the people.
The minister also cleared the air on comments he made on the protest embarked on by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), saying he never described the protest by the students body as illegal, rather the blockage of the Lagos-Ibadan road.
Fashola said while every Nigerian has the right to a peaceful protest, it is against the law to block roads while exercising such right.
He said: “I was a governor; I managed protests, I was a student and protested, but blocking the road is a different thing. The right to a peaceful protest is guaranteed but the idea of barricading/blocking the road is illegal. There’s nowhere in the world that such will be encouraged.”
Speaking on the East-West road, the minister said in the last seven years, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has been in-charge of the East-West road.
“Until this year when I received a memo from the president to take charge of the East-West road, it has always been under the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. And there was a formal handing over ceremony between the minister in-charge of the ministry, Godswill Akpabio, and myself. But apart from that, there are some of the checks we need to carry out to confirm the true state of things,” Fashola explained.
Meanwhile, the minister said he has directed Kopek Construction Ltd, the contractor handling the construction of the 108 kilometres Ibadan–Ife–Ilesa road project to reduce the inconveniences being experienced by motorists and travellers.
He also directed the contractor to do some palliative works on the bad sections of the road.Fashola said he gave the directive when he led other directors in the ministries on tour, adding that 52 kilometres Oyo–Ogbomoso dual carriageway, as well as the 28 kilometres Iseyin–Okeho Road projects were also inspected.
He expressed concern over the gridlock on sections of Ibadan – Ife- Ilesa Road, such as new Gbagi, Alakia Adegbayi, Celica and Tollgate areas.
The minister directed the contractor to urgently carry out palliative works on the sections and other areas that call for such urgent intervention.
He said that Federal Government’s commitment to reconstruct the road and other roads across the country made it to award Ibadan-Ife Road contract.