By Our Reporter
Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, gave the assurance while fielding questions from newsmen shortly after an inspection tour of the project site at the Asaba end of the Second Niger Bridge project on Friday.
According to a statement signed by the Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo stressed that the second Niger bridge project was not only important for the economy of the South East, but for also Nigeria’s economy in general.
Osinbajo, who expressed optimism that the project would be delivered on schedule, maintained that strategic infrastructure projects such as the bridge, was critical to the administration’s economic agenda, as it would improve socio-economic opportunities and benefit all Nigerians.
He said, “The second Niger Bridge is so important for the economy of the South East and for the Nigerian economy, and of course, it is not just the bridge, there are the access roads, which are also very important.
“It is obvious so much progress has been made here; it is an important project that the president is committed to completing. In the past 18 months or so, a lot of work has been done, and I come to see for myself.
“As you can see, the foundation goes all the way down, and this is just the Asaba end of the bridge. There is also the Anambra end of the bridge; so, it is a lot of work. There are a huge number of people, who are also benefiting in various ways as the project progresses.”
Osinbajo said that the commitment of the Buhari’s administration to complete strategic infrastructure projects that would improve the nation’s economy necessitated the creation of the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF). The PIDF is an initiative of Buhari administration which is to be invested specifically in critical road and power projects across the country.
According to him, there are some critical infrastructures that are considered very strategic to Nigeria’s economic plan and which, through PIDF, will hopefully be completed. He said that one of the reasons why projects were hardly ever completed was because there was not enough money going into the projects, adding that Buhari had decided that there must be a fund for all of the projects; hence, PIDF.
Osinbajo said projects being executed under the PIDF included the Kano-Abuja expressway, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and the Mambila hydro project, among others.
“The good thing is that the president has set aside the funds, the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund, which is a fund dedicated to certain strategic projects, including the Second Niger Bridge.”
Earlier before embarking on the tour of the Second Niger Bridge project, the vice president paid a courtesy call on the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, at his palace in Onitsha. During the visit, Osinbajo assured the monarch of the federal government’s commitment to be fair and just in the execution of projects across the country.
He said that there were other initiatives being implemented by the federal government in Anambra state in partnership with the state government.
“Anambra state is the very first state to accept what we call the Home Grown School Feeding Programme, which is a federal government programme. Anambra state was the very first state to accept and implement it the way we wanted it to be implemented,” the VP said.