On Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari officially commissioned the 2nd Niger Bridge, a 1.6km bridge connecting Asaba in Delta State with Onitsha in Anambra State and other South-East States. The bridge has been named after the President.
During the commissioning ceremony conducted via Zoom, President Buhari highlighted the significance of the bridge as one of the essential infrastructures provided by his administration to combat poverty, stimulate economic growth, and drive progress for the people.
He emphasized that the completion of the bridge and other projects being commissioned exemplified his administration’s unwavering commitment to fostering prosperity and development throughout the country.
“I am honoured to hand over this bridge and other projects for public use. The bridge will reduce travel time and promote economic activities in the South East, South-South and other parts of the country.
“Those crossing the old Niger bridge will no longer experience gridlock as it will help to improve the socio-economic activities of the South-East. In eight years, I am proud to say that we have developed Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure of Gross Domestic Products from about 20 per cent to over 40 per cent and that is not a small undertaking.”
Buhari expressed surprise that the bridge was named after him, saying that he was not consulted before the action was taken.
Earlier, the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola, speaking said, “This is a clear case of how infrastructure supports the people. It will take only a few minutes to cross the bridge of approximately 1.5km, travel time is reduced by 50 per cent. By this bridge, various properties in the area have been appreciated.
“After consultation with the state governors and other critical stakeholders, we decided to name the bridge Muhammadu Buhari Bridge.”
During the event, Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, expressed his optimism about the positive impact the bridge would have on the nation’s economy and business activities between Delta and Anambra states. He emphasized that the 2nd Niger Bridge would contribute to job creation and foster economic growth within the two states.
Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, commended President Buhari for fulfilling his campaign pledge of completing and delivering the bridge to the people of the South-East region. He acknowledged the significance of the bridge in promoting regional connectivity and development.
He said, “I am personally overjoyed. Today is a day of joy, we have come to express our gratitude. History is being made today, the people of the South-East have agitated, and we have complained about five key infrastructure projects.
“These five key projects, which were supposed to be a game changer to the economy of the South-East are the dredging of the River Niger, the second happens to be the 2nd Niger bridge, the third is the expressway that will lead from Anambra directly to Lokoja and the fourth are the gas pipeline and the fifth obviously is the railway line.
“Of these five projects, it is our pleasure that we have come to tick good to one of them and a major one at that, and that is the 2n Niger Bridge.”
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, represented Buhari physically at the event.
Speaking, he said, “Today is a great day for us. It is a day we have come together to rejoice. It is a promise given and a promise kept. This bridge signifies the major handshake between the West, East and the North.
“Successive governments have come and gone since 1965 when this 2nd Niger Bridge was first muted, but Buhari’s administration has deemed it fit to complete the bridge. In every project, there must be a hero and a hero must be named after every project and the hero of this project is President Buhari.”