From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
An advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has criticized the administration of President, Muhammadu Buhari for shifting the completion date for the multibillion naira 2nd Niger Bridge from October 2022 to the first quarter of 2024.
National Coordinator of the civil rights group, Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the postponement of the completion date of the vital bridge linking Delta and Anambra states shows that the Buhari regime is not sincere with Ndigbo and the people of South-East Nigeria.
The group said despite the many promises and assurances of the Buhari administration that it will complete the 2nd Niger Bridge before May 2023, the present government has failed the South-East.
HURIWA said Buhari completed scores of multi-million dollars projects he started in his hometown in Daura, Katsina State but can’t deliver just the Second Niger Bridge for South-Easterners.
The All Progressives Congress had started the construction of the bridge five years ago but it is now certain that it won’t deliver it before leaving office in May 2023 as the acting Federal Controller of Works in Anambra State, Seyi Martins, was quoted in news reports as saying the project with total length of 11.9km won’t be complete until the first quarter of 2024.
Commenting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “This shift shows that President Muhammadu Buhari simply gambled with the South East and sold cheap propaganda to try to score cheap popularity over the political rivals in Peoples Democratic Party.
“It is now clear that this second Niger Bridge has become a circus show by successive Presidents against the South East and virtually all the past and present Presidents have used that second Niger bridge for political gimmicks but the current President took this gimmickry to a new height by promising that it will be completed in 2022 December only for Nigerians to wake up few days back to be told that the Bridge won’t be completed until 2024.
“Whereas the government has introduced dry ports in Kano and Kaduna, the same government refused to dredge the Ogwuta lake. This is a typical demonstration of the hatred the President harbours against Ndigbo which he even exposed in 2015 during his maiden visit to the White House when he said he will give infrastructure to only those who gave him votes 95% versus 5% votes meaning he will develop the North first before all others and he has done more than that by borrowing to build the Kano-Maradi Railway to Niger Republic which cost $1.9bn.
“In fact, Buhari’s hometown in Daura, Katsina boasts of many dividends of democracy such as the Nigeria Air force Reference Hospital, Nigeria Air force Quick Response Unit, Federal University of Transportation, Daura Township Stadium, 171 Battalion of the Nigerian Army, Federal Polytechnic, Daura, the School for People with Special Needs, Daura, the Nigerian Airforce Response Air Wing (Quick Response Unit), Daura, the Nigerian Army 171 Battalion Base, Daura, the Forwarding Operating Base of the Nigerian Army along Kongolam road, Daura, the National Directorate of Employment Centre, Ganga, Daura, upgrade and expansion of Daura Mini Stadium, the Sustainable Development Goals Skills Acquisition Centre, Zango Road, Daura, amongst others.
“This is unfair. Simply unfair and tribalistic.”