Some residents of Anambra State have commended President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring the commencement of work at the Second Niger Bridge.
Some of the residents told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews yesterday, that the president’s fulfillment of his promise indicated that it was dear to his heart.
NAN reports that the idea of the Second Niger Bridge, awarded to Julius Berger Nig. Ltd, was envisaged to reduce the load and pressure on the existing Niger Bridge.
A correspondent of NAN, who visited the project site to ascertain the level of work done, reports that some workers were seen operating a gigantic equipment used for piling.
In his reaction, Prof. Dennis Aribodo of the Department of Public Health Parasitology, NnamdiAzikiwe University, Awka, described the bridge as a “necessary link to promote the economy of the country.”
“The bridge invariably serves as an alternative if anything happens to old Niger Bridge. It is an important economic project of huge benefit to the country,” he said.
Aribodo stressed the need for proper supervision of the project to ensure that work was carried out to specification.
Also, MrsAnthoniaUdem, a food vendor close to the project site, who expressed happiness over the project; however, decried the slow pace of work by the construction company.
Udem described the attitude of the construction firm as “419” (fraud).
“I am happy about the work, just that these people want to play us 419 again. I say so because this work is supposed to be ready by now but they will work today and tomorrow they won’t work.
“I want government to execute the project fast so that the bridge will be useful to us and everybody will be happy,” Udem said.
On his part, MrChukwuemekaOkonkwo, a sand excavator near the project site, also decried the slow pace of work at the Bridge.
Okonkwo said based on the importance of this project, the work should be carried out both day and night to ensure early completion.
“The federal government should provide the necessary logistics like money because when you mobilize and give them enough money, they will get more equipment and labour,” Okonkwo said.
However, a top official of Julius Berger Nig. Plc, who pleaded anonymity, said work resumed fully at the site in November 2017.
According to the source, the community cannot dictate the pace of work.
“Julius Berger has a peculiar way of working on site. Currently, we are doing mostly piling now on ground after the one done in the water. We have equally finished the piling on the Asaba side.
“What we are doing now is what we call early works four, which means we have done that of one to three and these are preparation for the major work to begin.
“Early works four will be completed by June or July for the major work to commence.
“From what the Federal Ministry of Works has told us, there will be no stoppage until work is completed; meaning, funding will not interrupt the project or slow it down,” the source said.
However, the source said the issue of compensation on affected communities cropped up occasionally, noting however, that the Federal Ministry of Works had equally promised to resolve the issue.