BY SUNNY A. DAVID

It is a common saying that; ‘Seeing is believing’. These were words of the Oshimili Atata 1 of Asaba, High Chief Nicholas Chizea, when he led a delegation of Asaba, Okpanam and Igbuzo Chiefs on courtesy call and inspection tour to ascertain the level of work of the 2nd Niger Bridge been constructed by the President Mohammed Buhari’s administration.

On what spurred the visit to the site, Chief Chizea disclosed that when the work was in progress at the Onitsha end, the Obi of Onitsha and Governor of Anambra State visited the site, and they shown round the construction site.

According to him, the Obi of Onitsha and the Governor commended the Federal Government for the commitment President Buhari has shown towards the completion of the 2nd Niger Bridge.

He noted that, now that heavy job has started on the Asaba end, they have come to do the same inspection tour of the work in progress.

He noted that, according to contractual commitment and agreement, there are certain privileges that is accruing to the Asaba end by way of job engagement and other settlements for the catchment areas in order for them to key-in and be carried along.

Chief Chizea, expressed worries that, no visible sign of engagement of host communities at the site now, adding that, by contractual commitment and agreement, 70% engagement of jobs artisans is supposed to go to the host communities, while 30% of its professional job can go anywhere.

However, in responding to questions from newsmen, Engr. Friedrich Josef Wieser, the Project Director of Julius Berger Construction Company at the 2nd Niger Bridge, said the host communities are being carried along. He assured that, the company will continue to engage host communities on artisan’s job.

Engr. Wieser who identified the high water level as the main challenge delaying the completion of the 2nd Niger Bridge, disclosed that 22 pile-up set of pillars are needed for the completion, but so thus far, less than 10 has been fixed because of the high water level of River Niger.

He revealed that the work will be fully completed by 28th February, 2022.

One of the representative from Igbuzo, Chiefs, Dr. Austine Ezeagwu, commended the federal government for the level of work done so far. He added that, so much has happened and commendable work has been done compare to what was on ground when they visited in 2015.

Ezeagwu, who lamented the traffic jam at the Niger Bridge especially during festive periods, urged the federal government and Julius Berger to expedite actions, saying, the earlier the bridge is completed, the better, because it will serve the whole country.

Also speaking, Chief Chris Obremenyego from Okpanam Kingdom and Chief Ofilli Mordi, the head of technical adviser to the Royal Palace of Asaba, noted that, most of the workers at the site were imported initially.

They advised that, now that, vibrant work has commenced on the Asaba end, their people should be engaged meaningfully.

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