From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Coronavirus pandemic protocols notwithstanding, Federal Government, at the weekend, assured Nigerians that the Second Niger Bridge would be delivered in the second quarter next year.
Speaking exclusively to Daily Sun, Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said that although COVID-19 protocols slowed down work at the site, the project should be completed in the second quarter of next year.
“Yes, it is true that we have to readjust the timeliness for the completion of the bridge because of COVID-19. Not only because of the time, we lost but because of the way people have to work and also because of the limited number of people. Also social distancing rules still apply in our construction site. We are not out of it yet. So, I plan to pay a visit to inspect it. But we are looking at second quarter of next year. There are still so many variables. Some of the variables may not be visible to you. We are moving transmission lines. To move those transmission lines you have to shut down power. We have to do it in collaboration with Ministry of Power and TCN (Transmission Company of Nigeria). So, it is not just the road. There are so many other things like compensation, relocation. There is a lot we are responding to,” he said.
On the 17 million housing deficit which has been a subject of controversy in the industry, Fashola said that the government was still investigating the source of the figure.
According to the minister, World Bank was reported to have bandied the figure but the bank has since denied saying such.
“We seem to have craving for negative extremism. I hear us say we are the poverty capital of the world. Some of us seem to have craving for negative extremism. And I hope that some of us will quickly turn around and tend towards positive enthusiasm. I have travelled a bit, there is no place there is no housing problem.