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Monday, 13 February 2017

Weeks after headlines such as "At last, work begins on 2nd Niger Bridge" went viral on Nigerian media, Somtoo Okoye blog can authoritatively report that bare for the farmers cultivating vegetables on the bank on the River Nigeria, no construction work whatsoever is currently going at the site of the controversial project in Southern region of Nigeria.

Our correspondent who visited the Asaba, Delta State and Onitsha (Ogbeukwu), Anambra State ends of the bridge today was able to witness firsthand, the visibly stalled progress, rusting away of materials at the 2nd Niger Bridge whose construction began in 2014.

Although he was banned from taking pictures by few security men on the site who were found taking their siesta on arrival, our reporter somehow managed to get several clear shots of the location.
Handled by Julius Berger, the Federal Government had in January 2017 claimed it awarded a N14.1bn contract for the construction of the bridge, however, residents of the area say the last time they witnessed construction work was sometime in March 2015.

According to Arinze, a commercial bike rider who lives with his family in one of the shanties close to the Asaba end of the bridge,

"They told us that government will begin work since 2016 but I've not seen anything going on."
Another resident who spoke in anonymity added in pidgin English,
 "This new bridge will solve the issue of traffic gridlock on the Niger Bridge when completed.

"The people who travel to and fro the Southeast find themselves in traffic gridlock problems whenever they arrive this bridge (first Niger Bridge) from their destinations.

"Also, you know Onitsha City is already full and people are coming to live in Asaba while they do business and work in Onitsha.

"You can hardly pass this bridge after 5PM in the evening when work closes and sometimes 7AM in the morning."

When questioned, the only security man found at the Asaba end of bridge told our correspondent to "go and get paper from Julius Berger office in Onitsha" in order to be permitted to take pictures on the site.

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