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Jonathan, South-East Govs Discuss Second Niger Bridge, Others

Jonathan, South-East Govs Discuss Second Niger Bridge, Others

President Goodluck Jonathan held a meeting late Wednesday in Abuja with governors of the five South-East states on the Second Niger Bridge and other issues of infrastructure in the region.

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting which lasted till about 11p.m., Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State said they discussed the construction of the second Niger Bridge and roads in the region, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

He said, “We actually came to see the President to brief him on the situation in the South-East and mention one or two issues that are of concern to us. We had a very useful meeting.

“Some of the issues are personal to us but the issue that is of main concern to us is the issue of the Second Niger Bridge, which the Minister of Works has been working on and has promised to deliver.”

Obi said the president and the governors also discussed the deplorable state of Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway and Enugu-Onitsha Expressway.

Also addressing journalists, the Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, said the meeting afforded him the opportunity to brief the governors on the progress of work on the second Niger Bridge.

“You will recall that in December last year, we commenced the procurement process for the Second Niger Bridge and we have achieved a milestone on that particular procurement.

“The transaction adviser was appointed a couple of months ago and a couple of months after, the adviser submitted an inspection report on the project.

“About a week ago, the request for proposal was issued to the short-listed consortia who are participating in the procurement process and that is expected to be turned in by the second week of December.

“After the analysis of the Record for Proposal by the various will-be concessionaire, a successful concessionaire will be announced and that will be followed quickly by the financial closure.

“We are certain that based on our projection, there will be a breakthrough on the Second Niger (Bridge) project by the end of the first quarter of 2013; which means that the successful concessionaire for the project will be on site,” the minister stated.

Onolememen said that the project would be executed under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

He added that under the arrangement, the Federal Government would take up 30 per cent equity in the stake, while the successful concessionaire would be required to provide the balance of 70 per cent as counterpart funding.

Also in attendance at the meeting were Governors Martin Elechi of Ebonyi; Theodore Orji of Abia; and Rochas Okorocha of Imo.

Also in attendance were Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu; other leaders from the South-East; the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; and some presidential aides.

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