FG reviews Second Niger Bridge, Deep Seaports projects

The Director General of the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission, Mr Aminu Dikko, has asked the Ministry of Works to carry out a review of the cost of the second Niger Bridge.

Also under review, according to Dikko, are the three deep seaports projects.

He told newsmen in Abuja after meeting with President Muhammdu Buhari that there were few issues against the actualisation of the project.

According to him “The second Niger bridge is one of the projects that we discussed with the president. We did say yes it is in the commission for regulatory oversight. We have been discussing the transaction with the Ministry of Works.

“But before it can be finalised the commission has to give a certificate of compliance, but we haven’t done that because we have seen a lot of issues that we are uncomfortable with.

“We are talking with the Ministry of Works for them to correct it. The communities around that area are clamouring that their lands have been taken and that they have not been compensated adequately.

”As a matter of fact, we got a letter from Onitsha Traditional Council complaining that they have not been adequately represented in this transaction.

“We are not saying that something has not been done properly but we need to be convinced that these few problems are sorted properly.

“We will also talk about the actual cost of the bridge, eventually we have asked the ministry of works to review it and justify how much the project should cost.”

On the status of the project, Dikko said he had no idea.

“What I need to tell Nigerians is that Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) take a long time to mature. 

There is a difference between the project which you have money in your pocket or in your account and you just bring it out and tell somebody to go and do it, but when it is PPP transaction you first engage a number of people: you have banker, lawyers, engineers.

They all collaborate to form consortium for that transaction.

“For the second Niger Bridge there will be a lot of studies that needs to be done on the integrity of the bridge itself which will take time.
“It is not something we can see being completed in the next six months. I will like us to be patient about it, we know that it is a critical road we also know how Nigerians suffer during festive holidays and we hear people sleep on that old bridge. The time has come for us to bring succour Nigerians.”

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), disclosed that it has spent the sum of $2.21 million on consultancy services for the construction of the Second Niger Bridge.

The money was spent on due diligence and project development phases of the project which gulped $247,586 and $1.96 million respectively.

The second Niger Bridge which will include adjacent roads is estimated to cover 11.9 kilometres is expected to be constructed within 48 months. The bridge will have three lanes with three in each direction.

The project was initially estimated to cost N108 billion excluding duties and VAT and N117.9 billion with duties and VAT.

Dikko also revealed yesterday that the proposed three deep sea port for Nigeria have been estimated to cost of about $6 billion, adding that the projects are being reviewed with the Ministry of Transport.

He said that very soon, his agency would come out with a position on the projects.