Technocrat Media, Abuja
Buhari’s minister of works and housing, Babatunde Fashola says the completion of the second Niger bridge has reached 91 percent.
He disclosed that the project was planned to be completed last month but listed COVID-19 lockdown, #ENDSARS protests, and energy crisis as factors that affected the completion of the project.
Mr Fashola also said projects executed under the presidential infrastructure development fund (PIDF) by the Buhari administration have gulped about N1.3 trillion so far.
The minister disclosed this on Thursday during a media briefing at the statehouse, Abuja.
He said direct employment has been created for at least 1,486 people for the Second Niger Bridge, adding that 8,110 indirect jobs have been created.
Answering questions on the completion rate, Mr Fashola said the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and Second Niger Bridge will be completed this year while the main carriageway of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano expressway is scheduled for completion by the second quarter of 2023, adding that ancillary works will be completed later.
The former Lagos state governor also said the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway, a 375km road, cost N797billion; the Second Niger Bridge (11.59km) cost N206billion; and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway (127km) cost N310 billion.
“Right now, there is no private sector money in what you are seeing, not yet. NSIA manages the funds and the money I told you President Buhari has recovered that was stolen from Nigeria. So, it is government money so far.
“NSIA is talking to some investors who want to bring money, but they have not brought it. Invariably they will, and we expect that they will, and invariably we’ll extend to them concessions for better management but that is further down the line.”
The minister added that the claims that the Second Niger Bridge was fully funded by the previous administration are not true.
He also stated that the ongoing energy crisis in the country is affecting work on the projects as prices of petroleum products have increased.
He said the cost of transportation of materials has also increased, adding that food prices at construction sites across the country have also gone up.
“You’re probably also feeling it at home too on your table,” he told reporters.
“These are extremely globally challenging times, but for me, challenges are the reasons why governments exist.