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Buhari pledges to complete 2nd Niger Bridge

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By Usman Oladimeji

Buhari-led administration promise to commission the bridge before May 2023.

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola has reaffirmed the federal government dedication to complete the 2nd Niger Bridge under President Muhammadu Buhari administration before his regime runs out on May 29, 2023. Fashola who revealed this to State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided by the President at the Presidential Villa, stated that work on the multi-billion Naira new bridge is about to be completed and was delayed due to the sit-at-home orders being observed by the people in the South-East end of the bridge.

According to him the remaining work in both Obosi and Asaba sides of the bridge were progressing well, with just road markings, fixing of signs and fittings, hence it is being put to temporary use now. He assures that despite the delay, the bridge will be completed and commissioned before the end of the Buhari-led administration. Also, in his statement, Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo Jaji, attributed the delay to litigation for stalling of Dredging of the Calabar Port project. He, however, asserts that President Buhari has directed the Ministry of Transportation and that of the Justice to see to it that the issues were resolved amicably.

Individuals and CSOs seeks court order to impede HYPREP.

He noted that challenges encountered by Nigerian Ports Authority with the JV partnership, with respect to the Calabar channel dredging has been as a result of several litigations from both sides. On his part, the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, put blame on some Civil Society Organisations as well as some individuals in Rivers State for stalling Ogoni clean-up through litigations. He mentioned this in response to allegations by the Movement for Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) against the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) charged with implementing the problematic Ogoni Cleanup in Rivers State of slow pace of work as well as embezzlement.

The Minister of Environment also expressed the government is worrisome just like the MOSOP over the allegations on HYPREP and in terms of seeing the slow pace at which the the project is being carried out. Abdullahi explains that a times individuals and CSOs within Ogoni Land do seeks court order to impede HYPREP from carrying out the project execution process, hence government are not to be blame in most cases. He noted that this actions has hindered the process as captured in PPP. He added that currently, a group known as Good Conscience has gone to court to restrain the federal government from continuing with that water projects, which has stalled the execution.

Stakeholders assures peace in the land in terms of project execution.

Therefore, it is notable that individuals with interest in specific areas or projects within the Ogoni land are said to be the main causes of the impediment and delays on the projects execution. With the funding guarantees in place, government has set up fortified supervisory and monitoring evaluation team to ensures smooth running of the projects. Also, stakeholders assurances has been secured to enable a reinvigorated Peace in terms of project execution in Ogoni land. Speaking on the allegation of embezzlement against HYPREP, the minister said, argues that, some of these accusations are not very objective at times and in most cases they are propelled by ulterior motives to distract HYPREP.

According to Abdullahi the government is now open to investigate any allegation that has been made against any of the partners in the ministry. So if there is any case of mismanagement or misconduct, such firm will surely be forced to follow the law. He further clarified the assertion on the funding arrangement to Finance the remediation projects and whether or not the IOCs are involved in the contributions, indicating that it is true. There is dedicated a fund being superintended by the Ogoni Trust Fund, which essentially has been pooled together by the IOCs to actually finance the remediation projects under this principle of the polluter pays.

The president approved Crash Calls to finance the remediation projects.

Additionally, he said recently the President approved the Crash Calls to finance this projects in line with the budget as approved by the Governing Council of HYPREP, serving as the dedicated fund. Speaking on the collateral deaths in Zamfara State when the air force bombarded the terrorists in their hide-out, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed laments on the unfortunate collateral deaths in the state, saying that the government bemoaned it. Mohammed explains that fighting insurgency is a very difficult thing and as much as the the military are being careful such incident happens a times.


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