The Federal Government has set aside N2 billion to compensate those dislodged on the Right of Way (RoW) of the Second Niger Bridge, people with the knowledge of the matter has said.
The cash is under the main contract stage of the bridge which has just commenced.
Beneficiaries are those whose properties and livelihoods will be affected by the project.
Those affected in the early stage of the project got N441 million as compensation. They were those affected by the “early works contract 1234” awarded during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
It was gathered that the “early works” stage of the bridge is barely visible because the major work involves sinking of the pillars in the river and surface clearing to make way for the access roads.
Already, 96 per cent of the “early works” had been completed and a source involved in the implementation of the Second Niger Bridge (2NB) said over 90 per cent of the “early works” was completed under the Goodluck Jonathan administration, but the Buhari-led government has kept faith and provided funding to complete the “early works” stage.
The Buhari administration, the source revealed, has, besides releasing funds to complete the “early works”, made budgetary provisions for starting the “main works”.
According to the source, “compensation to be paid for ‘main works’ is N1.578 billion but the Federal Ministry of Works is still valuing properties, such as high rises and factories and taking inventory before commencing compensation for the “main works”.
Residents of Asaba and Onitsha, the two communities on the two ends of the Second Niger Bridge , have been calling on the Federal Government and the contractors to consider hiring the locals for the execution of the contract.
Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha, expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration for the commitment to complete the project after years of promises by previous administrations.
The royal father noted that the people of the region “believe the completion of the bridge would positively impact their economic and social life”.
Pledging the support of the host communities, Ìgwè Achebe, urged the contractors, especially Julius Berger, to ensure more employment opportunities are given to the indigenes in the project execution.
Project Director Freidrich Josef Weiser put the implementation status of the project at about 16 per cent completion.
Mr. Weiser promised the commitment of Messrs. Julius Berger to deploying its capacity to deliver the project in record time.
He also said that over 50 per cent of those working on the site were drawn from the host communities.
According to sources N33 billion had been released for the project.
Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority managing Director Mr. Uche Orji, confirmed the figure during a recent inspection of the project, which is estimated to cost about N220 billion.