By Rotimi Ijikanmi
Oweto (Benue) Aug. 27, 2020 (NAN) The Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed says President Muhammadu Buhari will leave behind, the legacy of massive and sustainable infrastructure development in Nigeria.
The minister stated this on Thursday during the inspection of the Loko-Oweto bridge over River Benue in Nasarawa and Benue states.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the Ministers of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Special Duties, George Akume and a team of journalists are on the inspection tour of the bridge and roads projects.
Speaking at the Oweto end of the bridge which is about 104km to Makurdi in Benue state, Mohammed said the tour is to showcase to Nigerians the efforts the Buhari administration is making to build the legacy of infrastructural development.
The minister recalled that he, recently in company with the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi inspected the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project, which is near completion
He said the Loko-Oweto bridge project is another testimony that the administration in investing in enduring infrastructure development.
NAN reports the 2.2km either way dual carriage bridge being financed with Sukuk loan has reached 97.3 per cent completion and opened for vehicular movement.
The minister reiterated that all the loans taken by the government are being used for the development of critical infrastructure that will benefit every Nigerians and outlive their repayment periods.
“Yes, we have taken loans but we are making very judicious use of the loans.
“While the loans can have a lifespan of 15 years to 20 years, the roads, bridges and other infrastructure we are constructing will have the life span of 50 to 60 years and will outlive many of us,” he said.
Speaking on the importance of the bridge, he said it linked Nasarawa to Benue states and connected the South East to the Northern parts of the country.
He said besides reducing travel time by over five hours, the bridge will boost agricultural production, aid integration and check insecurity.
speaking in the same vein, Fashola explained that “for a traveller coming from Cross River to Abuja by road, ordinarily he will have to go from Calabar to Ikom, Ogoja, Katsina Ala and then join Makurdi and come through Lafia, Keffi, Awkanga into Abuja.
He said with the completion of the bridge, there is a bifurcation through Oweto to Nasarawa to Abuja
Besides, the minister said that the project will enhance rice production and other cash crops that the Benue people are known for.
“The President has not only empower farmers through inputs, seedlings and extension service he is now providing a major road link to reduce their loss by bringing their produce to markets.
“This very important in terms of economic growth and competitiveness,” he said.
Fashola also disclosed that his ministry is currently intervening in 37 bridges across the country, either at construction, repairs and rehabilitation states.
Akume who is from Benue state appealed to the people to guide the project jealously and ensure no one pilfers the equipments of the contractors.
He also appealed for peaceful co-existence among the communities as well as their unalloyed support for President Buhari.
NAN reports the Loko-Oweto bridge over River Benue in Nasarawa and Benue states was awarded in November 2011 to Messrs RCC Nig. Ltd. at the cost of over N51.6 billion.
The construction of the bridge and the linking of the approach roads, being financed with Sukuk loan has reached 97.3 per cent completion and opened for vehicular movement.
NAN reports that the 104km Oweto to Markurdi approach road to the bridge had been completed while the 76km Loko to Nasarawa approach road has reached 24 km completion.
Following the marching order by Fashola, the Gilto Construction Company handling Nasarawa approach road to the bridge has assured it’s completion before the end of the year when the entire project will be delivered.