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2nd Niger Bridge: Fmr Minister Blasts Oshiomhole, Presents Evidence

By Ifeadinmesi
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Former Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen has debunked the widely speculated allegation made by Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole that former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration spent N140 billion allotted for the Second Niger Bridge on consultancy services alone without any structure on ground.

Onolememen made this known through his Special Assistant on Media and stated that he was thunderstruck at the pace with which Oshiomhole was rolling out figures and false allegations without empirical evidence.

For the past three months Oshiomhole has been accused of fabricating and parroting false figures about the immediate past administration, brandishing it as the most corrupt.

One of such allegations was the description of Jonathan’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda, ATA, as a gross failure, adding that over N800billion was given as waivers for rice millers and others, thereby killing local rice production and making agriculture unattractive.

In response, former Agricultural Minister and now President African Development Bank, AfDB, Adesina Akinwumni issued a feisty response.

Oshiomhole also accused the former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of numerous diversions of public funds which the immediate past Finance Minister described as baseless, false and embarrassing.

Few days ago, Oshiomhole rolled out the 2nd Niger Bridge allegation.

In reaction the immediate past Minister of Works said “The 2nd Niger Bridge Project was procured as a Public Private Partnership project under the Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) model.

“This implies that the successful concessionaire, JB-NSIA Consortium has responsibility for the Design, Finance and Construction of the project, as well as its operation and maintenance for a concessionary period of 25 years.

“The total project cost is N108 billion (excluding Duties and Value Added Tax) with a completion period of about 48 months. This cost was arrived at, after Bureau of Public Procurement’s review of the Concessionaire’s submitted cost of N138 billion.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), guided by the Transaction Adviser, Roughton International, agreed to provide a refundable Catalytic Funding of N30 Billion.

“By May 2015, N10 billion Catalytic Funding was paid from the Federal Ministry of Works’ SURE-P Budget to fast track the early and sub-structural works of the bridge.

“Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan performed the Ground Breaking ceremony on 10th March 2014.

“The Bridge located at about 2km downstream the existing Niger Bridge in Onitsha, has recorded impressive progress.

“One wonders therefore, the intentions of Governor Adams Oshiomhole in deliberately mis-informing Nigerians on the true status of the 2nd Niger Bridge.

“Rather than give in to such mis- information and sensationalism, the completion of the project, vis-à-vis sustaining the interest of the international investors that have signified interests in the project should be paramount.

“It is also pertinent to call on Governor Oshiomhole, for the sake of our collective national interest, to tell Nigerians the source of his information about his alleged N140 billion-consultancy cost for a project with a total cost of N108 billion only.

“As a senior public officer, it is expected that the Comrade Governor would have crosschecked his facts before jumping to make such wild and spurious allegations. Otherwise, Governor Oshiomhole should tender unreserved apology to Nigerians for misleading the public on this project.

“The following progress photographs of the Second Niger Bridge Project indicate the level of work carried out on site as at 13th August: