Second Niger Bridge ‘Inoperative’ Without Completion of Bypasses in Asaba, Onitsha- Umahi




The Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi has disclosed that the newly completed Second Niger Bridge in Onitsha may become “inoperative” unless the two originally planned  Bypasses in Asaba and Onitsha are constructed to mop up traffic from the both the Anambra and Delta states’ end of the bridge.

Umahi made the disclosure at the National Assembly on Monday during the ministry’s budget defence at the joint committee of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

He said that the bridge is faced by serious challenges of constructing the Approach roads 2A and 2B which were awarded by FEC but construction has been stalled due to lack of funds.

The minster explained that the remaining two Bypasses in Asaba (2A) and Onitsha (2B) awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and Reynods Construction Company Nigeria Limited respectively, during the last Administration was initially estimated to cost at about N200billion but now with inflation, the cost may be up to N260billion.


“There is no funding for these projects and the projects have not taken off. Let me note that without these Bypasses, the completed 2nd Niger Bridge will be almost inoperative.


Umahi who underscored the importance of road infrastructure to the overall development of the country said the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) Funded Projects in two phases.


“The NNPC joined the Road Infrastructure Development & Refurbishment Tax Credit Scheme programme by undertaking to finance 21 roads in the sum of N621bn with total length of roads of about 1,804.6km under the NNPC Phase I.


According to him, these roads were identified by key stakeholders such as the NNPC, Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association (PTD) and the Ministry etc. as being crucial for the efficient distribution of petroleum products across the nation.


As at date, the total drawdown forwarded to the NNPC Limited is in the sum of N247.729 bn out of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved sum of N621,237 bn representing 39.88% performance.

He explained that the funding gap here due to inflation is estimated at over N250 bn.


6.40     The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) Funded Projects Phase II


“The NNPC Phase II Funded Projects were approved by the Federal Executive Council in the sum of N1.969 trillion for the execution of 44 No. roads with total length of 4,554.19km while the initial Contract Sum was about N3.969trillion.


This leaves a funding gap of over N2 trillion at the time of starting the projects and presently, with inflation, the funding gap to have the NNPC Phases I & II completed shall stand at about N3.56 trillion (Inflation about N1.5trillion) for two years from now.


The minister said this funding gap is neither appropriated for nor has any source of funding, which means that without the “kind intervention of this Distinguished and Honourable Joint Committees of Works, these projects will not go on mostly from March 2024 when the NNPC funding would have been exhausted”.


“Your kind intervention and advice are highly, highly and urgently solicited. As at date, the total drawdown forwarded to the NNPC Limited is in the sum of N752.093 billion representing 38.18% performance”, adding “the level of drawdown seems low because most of the projects needed to be reviewed due to the inflation”.


On Abuja-Lokoja road , which Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan complained about because the project has been on for almost two decades, Umahi said the ministry has spent about N72 billion on it.


He said the project was divided into 3 sections, each executed by Mother Cat, RCC and Dantata..


Umahi lamented that several reasons are responsible for failure of Nigerian roads, which include the way the contractors execute the works, burning of tires on roads, parking of heavy vehicles on the roads,etc.


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