Second Niger Bridge Bypass: How Nigeria Saved ₦300bn — Umahi

Engr. David Umahi, the Minister of Infrastructure, sheds light on the eleventh-hour modification to the original blueprint of the bypass road for the Second Niger Bridge, resulting in a significant saving of N300 billion in public funds.

Umahi unveiled this revelation while conducting an onsite examination of the ongoing restoration work on Section IV (Aba-Port Harcourt) of the Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway, managed by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Ltd (CCECC), during a Sunday visit.

He said that just two days prior, he, along with those leaders, had visited Asaba to inspect the blueprint of the second Niger bridge bypass, proceeding to Onitsha thereafter. He also remarked that during this visit, they observed flaws in the design and collectively decided on a new approach. He highlighted that this action resulted in saving the country more than N300 billion, underscoring the significance of their visit.

The details were outlined in a press release signed by his Media Special Assistant, Barrister Orji Uchenna Orji, issued in Abuja on Monday.

Furthermore, the minister reiterated President Bola Tinubu’s pledge to establish a lasting heritage of resilient road networks constructed to ensure taxpayers receive maximum value for their expenditures.

He said the administration’s efforts were geared towards securing Nigeria’s future to guarantee her progressive march to economic prosperity.

According to him, the Renewed Hope administration of President Tinubu, “ is commitment to building everlasting road infrastructure with the most effective design at the lowest possible cost.”

Orji said, “The Honourable Minister who was accompanied by a member of the Senate Commitee on Works and Deputy Chief Whip of the 10th Senate, and other leaders across political divide from South East said that some of the ideals in the Renewed Hope mantra under his Ministry include: design and cost effectiveness, speed and standard of job delivery as well as innovations that would guarantee zero maintenance and durability of road infrastructure in Nigeria.

“He urged contractors to always consider the sufferings of the road users as they set up their work plans.”

Moreover, the Minister stressed the need for contractors to ensure that the roads they are tasked with are usable for commuters, especially in adverse weather conditions like the rainy season. He conveyed appreciation to the President for the support in reshaping Nigeria’s road infrastructure.

Read also: Hardship, Hunger, Cumulative Effect Of Past Govts — Umahi

On the section being handled by CCECC, Umahi said, “We will not accept anything less than two to three sections working. And I’ve given seven days for this particular lane, that is, the upper bound lane to be totally repaired, to ameliorate the sufferings of the commuters. I feel for them very highly.

“When you go through this road, you now need to take a number of painkillers. It’s not desirable. So, I’m begging CCECC, the controller, and engineers to do everything possible in the next seven days and create a smooth sail on this right-hand side.”

He further said, ” I want to thank Mr. President, so much. He has done a lot in our road infrastructure.

“He’s a man who wants all the roads to be completed as soon as possible. But let me assure him that I’m doing the best that I can with the fear of God and with commitment to his Renewed Hope agenda, which we all embraced.

While inspecting the Upgrading of the 15km section of the East-West road section III: (Port Harcourt – Eleme Junction to Onne Junction in Rivers State) under the supervision of RCC, the rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway Section 3, Enugu-Lokpanta under CGC’s jurisdiction, and the repair efforts at the collapsed bridge site near the NNPC mega filling station in Enugu Capital City, Enugu State, the Minister conveyed his satisfaction with the progress made.

However, the minister emphasized the need for contractors to expedite their work in order to meet a crucial target before the rainy season arrives.

While speaking about the ongoing Eleme refinery road project, Umahi said, ”We are upgrading the 15km road between Eleme flyover to Onne junction. We are starting with excavation to fill all the failed sections to make them stable. And when we get to where stable, we build up the boulders.

“After boulders, we put up sharp sand, and after the sharp sand, we compact. After the compaction, we put the first layer of stone base, 20cm first layer that will build up against another 10cm of stone base, we compact. After compacting, we leave it out for the traffic.

“So that it gets maximum compaction. After that, we put 10 cm with 5 percent cement to stabilize it and make it very strong. That will make the road very stable and it will last for a long time.

Representatives from the South East region, who joined the Minister on the tour, conveyed appreciation to the President for appointing someone perfectly suited to the task and for taking decisive action to revitalize the country’s economy.

They urged Nigerians to maintain their trust in the Renewed Hope administration led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR.

The Deputy Chief Whip, Sen. Barr. Onyekachi Peter Nwaebonyi, who is also the Deputy Chairman Public Accounts and member, Works Commitee of the 10th Senate said, “This is what we were lacking before, like he said here, he is not an office Minister.“He moves from site to site to ensure that the jobs are done according to specification. That is what we want in this country, and I want to commend Mr. President for finding him worthy. This is the very first time an expert is leading this ministry, and I want to assure Nigerians that very soon, they will see the difference in all our projects.”

Also speaking during the occasion, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and former Senate President, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, GCON said, “I want to remind you that the day the Honourable Minister took oath of office, he had a reception and I chaired it and I reassured Nigerians that he would exceed their expectations.

“I think this trip is a follow-up to that assurance to satisfy myself that he’s actually exceeding expectations. And I can tell you that it’s amazing. His passion, his expertise impacts the design, the quality, the speed, the durability, and, in fact, impacts the style of project implementation.

“And for the two days we’ve been on the road, it’s been like never before. And I want to say that I am proud that he is exceeding expectations. And I want to say that I have been vindicated that the President did not make any mistake. Again, I want to reemphasize, like my brother, there is a case of square peg in a square hole. Thank you, Mr. President.”

In his remarks, the former National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh said, “I want to state clearly, publicly what I have seen in the past two days.“ In the last two days, I have witnessed things that I never knew were possible on the issue of road construction in Nigeria, especially on these roads. I’ve gone with the Honorable Minister.

“I have seen, I’ve been satisfied. I feel that it is a question of a round peg in a round hole. Our request, Mr. President, is that the hope is real, and as long as the Minister is in charge, he’s being supported, he’s being funded,

“Mr. President is going to write his name in gold in the annals of our history for generations to come. This will be a reference point about what he has done on our roads in the entire country.

“ It’s a legacy project for Nigerians. I want to state that the most important thing is not only the quality of the roads that we have seen but the fact that it’s being done with the lowest amount of money.

“What the Honourable Minister is saving the country, saving from the budget, saving the Nation on the instruction of Mr. President is unquantifiable.

He expressed gratitude, stating that it exemplified democracy in practice. He also appreciated the President and extended thanks to the Minister as well.

Africa Today News, New York

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