The Second Niger Bridge facts and figures

By Luke Onyekakeyah   |   01 September 2015   |   3:04 am  
Niger bridge

Niger bridge

THE recent statement by H.E. Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State to the effect that the Second Niger Bridge has gulped N140 billion in consultancy services is misleading; the facts prove otherwise. How could a project whose total cost is put at N108 billion spend N140 billion in consultancy alone? Unfortunately, the statement has raised much dust and is capable of putting Nigeria in bad light. By giving the erroneous impression that corruption has crept into the newly conceived mega bridge project, the international community, especially, willing investors in the project, could be scared away, which is not in our national interest.

Governor Oshiomhole is a highly respected comrade governor whose statements carry weight. It is regrettable that such unpatriotic statement was attributed to him, which might need recanting or clarification. The former Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, under whose tenure the project was conceived, has debunked Oshiomhole’s statement and challenged him to substantiate his claim.

Oshiomhole is not alone in making speculative statements about a bridge, whose preliminary construction work began barely four months ago, precisely in May, 2015. The rumour mill is awash with all kinds of speculations. The South-East Zone, whose patriotic instinct fires their zeal, appears to be the most agitated. I would like to stress from the outset that the Second Niger Bridge is not an Igbo project. A bridge that equally bestrides Anambra State at Onitsha and Delta State at Asaba cannot belong to the Igbo alone.  I, therefore, can’t understand why only the Igbo appear to be too forward about the bridge. Everybody should be calm and stop politicizing the bridge that would, in other climes, go unannounced until it is completed. The other day, China commissioned the world’s longest bridge measuring 42.4 kilometres. Nobody heard about it while it was under construction.

For example, while the Ohaneze Ndigbo, the other day, reportedly warned President Muhammadu Buhari not to stop work on the Second Niger Bridge; the Aka Ikenga also issued a statement condemning the cessation of work on the bridge. Earlier on, the Ohaneze Caretaker Committee had lamented that former President Goodluck Jonathan “lied to Ndigbo about awarding contract for the construction of Second Niger Bridge”. My fear is that these statements could derail the bridge project rather than enhance it. An attempt to establish the truth led me to investigate the bridge project.

The truth is that the bridge does not serve the South-East more than it serves the South-South and South-West that have direct link to it. I am afraid that if this bridge is branded an Igbo project, it would be treated like everything belonging to the Igbo. The bridge should be left to the Federal Government and the international investors to realise the project.

The first Onitsha-Asaba Niger Bridge was completed in December 1965. Built by the French construction giant Dumez, the bridge linked the defunct Eastern and Western regions of Nigeria. Today, it is the major corridor of trade between the South-East, South-South, South-West and North-Central zones. At the time the bridge was conceived, Nigeria was mainly an agrarian economy. Thus, the bridge served as the avenue for transporting different agricultural products – palm produce, timber, rubber, etc. Prior to the construction of the bridge, these commodities were ferried across the River Niger between Onitsha and Asaba using canoes.

Owing to rapid economic development and population growth, pressure began to mount on the bridge, especially during festive periods. The bridge has been overstretched beyond its capacity. There is apprehension that the bridge might collapse with catastrophic consequences to lives and property. To forestall such disaster, the idea of a Second Niger Bridge was conceived.

The Second Niger Bridge was on the drawing board for many decades. Successive administrations in the country paid lip service to its construction. It was President Goodluck Jonathan that flagged off the construction of the bridge and actual work started. To that extent, it is wrong to accuse Jonathan of lying to Ndigbo about the bridge. Jonathan thought that he would win a second term during which he could complete the bridge. But he lost the election. The history of the bridge cannot be written without mentioning him.

The truth is that work has commenced on the Second Niger Bridge and is progressing. The project, which is divided into three phases, will bypass Onitsha and Asaba to connect the Owerri-Onitsha Expressway at Nkwerre-Ezunaka, and then cross Atani to the Asaba-Benin Expressway at Okpanam with a total length of 44 kilometres. With this length, the Second Niger Bridge will surpass the world’s longest bridge in China (42.4km), to become the world’s longest bridge!

The project is being constructed under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme. A  Consortium JB-NSIA, is working on the project on the basis of Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT), at a total cost of N108 billion. The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) reviewed the concessionaire’s cost of N138 billion down to N108 billion. The project phases will be constructed under Engineering, Procurement and Construction contracts awarded by the Federal Ministry of Works (FMW).

The Federal Government committed to contribute N30 billion (28%) of the project cost. The remaining 72% will be raised by the Consortium under a 25-year concession. The Federal Government has so far committed N18.31billion. Out of this, N10.4 billion has been disbursed leaving a balance of N7.94 billion. A team of local and international consultants was engaged through a rigorous and competitive procurement process. The NSIA has spent the sum of $2.21 million on consultancy and another $247,586 on due diligence to determine project viability. The first-class advisory services are required to enable the project reach financial close – the point at which private capital is successfully raised.

Based on reliable information, work has not stopped on the bridge. It could be said that work has slowed down because of the rainy season that naturally stalls engineering construction work. Preliminary physical works have been completed. By December 2015, the final phase of the early works will be completed. The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) is being done to meet the highest international standards to make the project eligible for long-term financing by local and international financial institutions. The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) is reviewing the Full Business Case (FBC) and Draft Concession Agreement (CA). Once the ICRC approves the FBC, the CA will be signed and the Consortium will then raise the remainder of the project capital.

President Buhari has stopped work on the project. It is in the country’s interest to hold onto this project because any review will definitely raise the cost owing to the depreciation of the naira. The cost of the project was reached at the exchange of N154/$. Now the naira exchanges at N197/$. I can appreciate that Nigerians want to see a second bridge across the River Niger. People should calm down. The bridge project has a development and completion time-frame four years from financial close – point at which private capital is successfully raised. This point has not reached, meaning that count down for the bridge is yet to start.



  • grateful mortal

    The NSIA has spent the sum of $2.21 million on consultancy and another $247,586 on due diligence. Please what is the meaning of this statement? Why written in $? Is Oshiomole lying now?

    • George

      It means Oshomole has lied again! He has completely lost every sense of decorum and now lies at will. The govt propaganda and lies should stop. They must do proper investigations before going to the press to brand everything bad. This is not good for the image of the country

  • Kris

    Consultancy takes a lot of money.project financing without proper evaluation ends up in gutters.Oshomole allegation runs into billions.The amount spent on consultancy here is fair enough.We can do that by simply comparing with other similar project feasibility studies across the globe.

  • avinotab

    the writer of this article is trying to be smart by writing contract money in Naira and change to $ just to make it look smaller. Yes its understandable that it good to spend money on due diligent but it must be balance. already with look of things over 1 billion naira have been spent on consulting. whatever amount spent, its fair to be open in all deals.

  • DD

    U said “Based on reliable information, work has not stopped on the bridge. It
    could be said that work has slowed down because of the rainy season that
    naturally stalls engineering construction work.” and latter said “President Buhari has stopped work on the project.” Which one should we believe. This writer has been paid by formal minister of works and GEJ boys to write this articles and mislead Nigerians about the truth. “$2.21 million on consultancy and another $247,586 on due diligence.” to consult who, did they consult God? to have divert such amount into private pockets.

  • Stanley

    Let the South-East and South-South governors and people embrace PDP as a unifying factor, look inward, talk to themselves, embrace good governance, take over should FG delay or abandon their counter-part funding of the bridge project. They must prove the social media and Oshiomhole wrong in their bid to cause confusion for the two regions. They should continue with the PDP programs and in fact begin the implementation of the national conference report which remains the only agreement that the entire country has been able to reached as a way to move the country forward.

  • ZINNI

    We should be slow to negative criticism,in 1983,Jakande the executive Governor of Lagos was jailed for building schools,low cost housing ,freed education to Lagosians,with loans and grantsprof.Ambrose Alli of old Bendel state,Olabisi Onabanjo,of Ogun,Melford Okilo of old Rivers state ,among many others faced the same fate,most of these old men have no personal building,today ,e.g Prof Ambrose Alli,the novel press blew it out of proportion,it was celebrated by even the ignorant benefiting populace,the federal is the problem with Nigeria`s corruption saga at all time,The Onitsha bridge otherwise called the second Niger bridge is a national gateway ,have been kicked started by GEJ will be completed by GMB,unless if he chooses not to write his name in gold.furthermore,why this public and private partnership?when our oil wells still flow unending?must Nigerians pay for what we already have?

  • Asuquo Bassey

    FG, please allow work to continue on the bridge. God bless Nigeria

  • PRINCE

    ITS OBVIOUS THAT THE PRESENT FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS USING OSHIHOMOLE AS AN AGENT TO DISCREDIT PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT. HE SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO BITE THE FINGER THAT FEED HIM. HIS EMERGENCE AS GOVERNOR OF EDO STATE IS BECAUSE JONATHAN DELIVERED A TRANSPARENT ELECTION AS HE PROMISED NIGERIANS. BUHARIS AMBITION SHOULD NOT BE MORE THAN THE LIFE OF NIGERIA

  • Author

    President Buhari has NOT stopped work on the project. Note this correction of typo error on last paragraph, line one. Mistake is regretted.

  • amador kester

    The truth about work on this bridge has not been told.Has work stoped or is it ongoing.I detect aquivocation left and right in above write up although its a bit i nformative.The south east sociocultural leadership must have been seen as buffoons if they could not give the state of affairs on this important highway link structure.Why does it look like a master scammer scammed them? And why should anyone try to stop work on this structure cognizant of safety implications vis- a- vis the dilapidated nature of the old bridge? Even if there is a probe how can it affect ongoing construction? And why should this preceed the multibillion dollar scam in power sector yet unprobed or even forgotten? .Does it by any inference then mean if ever any power probe begins all electricity will shut down? There is a riot of perplexity and i stop there

  • JIDE OWOLEKE

    I am worried, seriously worried the way ‘Comrade’ Oshiomole bandit and throw figures to the press and at Nigerians in the last few weeks. If you hate somebody, must you fabricate lies that are obvious even to a juveniles? That Adams hate Goodluck is incontestable, decency however requires some level of decorum. Nigeria is NOT NLC for God’s sake. Please Nigerians should tell Oshiomole to implore some level of civility. If he continues like this, am afraid the prediction by the US about Nigeria God forbid should come to pass.
    Many Nigerians are watching and waiting. The route Oshiomole is trying to direct the course of vendetta is quite dangerous, such that if others should start towing his line of venomous utterances, things might fall apart and the centre might not be able to hold, God forbid mere anarchy should be let loose. The trend I perceive if we throw caution to the winds, looks too dangerous. Just trying to make sense! More to come.

  • newday

    How much has gov osho spent on the importation of foreign women?

  • Afam okwuowulu

    Note: There is no standard way to measure the total length of a bridge. Some bridges are measured from the beginning of the entrance ramp to the end of the exit ramp. Some are measured from shoreline to shoreline. Yet others are the length of the total construction involved in building the bridge. Since there is no standard, no ranking of a bridge should be assumed .

    This is a well known fact. This writer must be trying to deceive people . Please let no one be deceived into believing that nigeria is about to build the world’s longest bridge. Calculating the length of road connecting to the niger bridge does not in any way tell the exact length of the bridge. A bridge is definitely different from a road.

    However, even if we were to do that, the pertinent question is …… at what cost to tax payers will this be achieved. A situation where we spend this crazy amount of money and yet still expect users to pay a toll any time they use this bridge is tantamount to extortion.

    Let us also find out about the intergrity of the process involved with choosing the companies involved with this project. Also , it is a well know fact that President Jonathan’s government is the most corrupt government in the history of the world as at today. Give me just one reason why such a corrupt government will be trusted with such project.

    Let us seek the truth about this project. We will definitely find out that alot of waste would have gone into planning and executing this project. We dont need that at this time .

  • Gran puba

    Oshiomole has since stopped Edo state governance duties from Benin and has become the APC version “Chemical Ali” of Saddam’s Iraq. He is only preparing for the political after life with PMB in abuja after 2016. For now he is busy gradually increasing the debt profile of Edo and telling tales from the other side of midnight.

    The dude should grow up and act his age. It takes an oversize ego such as his to dare to go public in marrying a young female and call it love. Though most men might have done same in the silence of their homes if such situation confronts them. Adams is a like a box of chocolates. You never know what you going to get.

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