Again! Completion Of Second Niger Bridge Suffers Setback As Julius Berger vacates site, sacks 50

Nigeria Leading Construction company, Messrs Julius Berger Nigeria Ltd., has stopped works on the ongoing second Niger Bridge project. Ashiwaju.org  learnt that the company had in the last one month sacked over 50 workers on the site due to financial constraint.
The construction company had earlier stopped work on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway due to paucity of fund. Our correspondent, who visited the project site at the Asaba and Ogbaru end of the bridge, reports that some of the heavy duty equipment working on the site have disappeared while only few security personnel and some foreign nationals were seen loitering at the site. The plant house along the expressway has also been shut.
Only security personnel were seen at the entrance of the plant. A source stated that there is funding gap for the project. The source said: “Oga, I don’t know what is happening; you can see the workers are no longer here.

In fact, more than 50 of us (ad hoc staff) have been sacked and even this weekend more will go. The management told us that some of us should prepare to go including supervisor because they said there is no money to executive the project.”
The project is at the level of preliminary foundation and sand pilling. The Federal Government had promised to complete the project in 48 months. Efforts to speak with the Public Relations Officer of the company, Mr. Joseph Ojolabi, on the development proved abortive as he neither pick his call nor reply to the Short Messaging Service sent to him. 
In the build up to the 2015 general elections, the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration had promised to speed up work on the project.
In the heat of the presidential campaign, President Jonathan told the people of Anambra State and Nigerians that N10 billion had been spent on the project.
The second Niger Bridge had been awarded since the Shehu Shagari administration in 1979. The project has always been a subject of political campaign by successive administration.
In 2006, former President Olusegun Obasanjo inaugurated the second Niger Bridge. The first Niger Bridge was built between 1964 and 1965 by the French construction giant, Dumez, to link Onitsha and Asaba in the present-day Anambra and Delta states at the cost of £5 million.
The construction was completed in December 1965 but during the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-1970, soldiers destroyed the River Niger Bridge at Onitsha. After the war, the bridge was rehabilitated but experts have predicted that the Niger Bridge is gradually collapsing.


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