From Ngozi Omah, Awka
Residents of Onitsha, the commercial nerve centre of the South East and environs have protested against the snail speed pace of work on the Second Niger Bridge.
The protesters who were joined by motorists, other active road users and concerned groups and citizens lamented that the inexplicable delay has been causing excruciating pains to commuters daily, especially at the Obosi-Oba axis of the road. At that point, the dual carriageway with multiple interchanges had been shrunk to only one lane. This was despite the heavy number of vehicles that uses the route per minute, due to the ongoing construction work to link up the new bridge.
They pointed out that in addition to the bottleneck the motorists were consigned to, the police added to the pains by mounting questionable duplicated checkpoints that they use to extort money from the vehicle drivers shamelessly on same road.
This now elongated the hitherto 15-minute journey across the axis to about five hours, without mercy.
The visibly angry protesters who apparently use that road daily therefore called on the company handling the project, Julius Berger and the Minister of Works and or Transportation to open up the completed Obosi end of the bridge to reduce the sufferings of drivers and commuters.
The ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) had severally told nigerians and the whole world that the Second Niger Bridge would be opened by first quarter of the year. Sadly, we have entered the Second quarter yet no more statement was coming from them.
Early March 2022, the Managing Director of Julius Berger Plc, Mr Lars Ritchter, conducted some Federal Government dignitaries round on an inspection tour of work on the bridge, for the umpteenth time.
The dignitaries who included the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola(SAN) and his Labour/ Employment counterpart, Dr Chris Ngige were told by Mr Ritchter, while conducting them round said that work on the bridge would be completed on April 2.