South-East Govs, Ekweremadu Meet Jonathan Over Second Niger Bridge

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PRESIDENT Goodluck
Jonathan, on Wednesday night in Abuja, held a crucial meeting with the
governors of the South East states and leaders from the zone over construction
of the second Niger bridge,  the deplorable state of roads, and erosion in
the area.
Though the agenda of the meeting, held behind
closed doors, was not made public, it was learnt that issues on the recent
security treat in the region, as well as compensation for the support the South
East states gave the President during the 2011 election, were discussed at the
meeting. 

While answering questions from State House
correspondents at the end of the meeting which dragged till about 12 midnight,
the Governor of Anambra, Mr. Peter Obi said “We actually came to see the
President to brief him on the situation of the South East and also mention one
or two issues that are of concern to us and we had a very useful meeting.

“Some of the issues are personal to us but
the issue that is of main concern to us is the issue of second Niger bridge
which the Minister of Works has been working very hard on and has promised to
deliver,” he said

Governor Obi, who described the meeting as
successful, pointed out that the issue of roads, especially the Enugu – Port-Harcourt
road and the Enugu Onitsha road also came up for discussion.

The Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen said
the meeting afforded him the opportunity to brief the governors on the
procurement of the second Niger Bridge.
His words, “You will recall that in
December last year, we commenced the procurement process for the second Niger
Bridge and we have achieved a milestone on that particular procurement till
date.

“The transaction adviser was appointed a
couple of months ago and couple of months after; they submitted an inspection
report on the project.

“About a week ago, the request for proposal
was issued to the shortlisted consortia, who are participating in the
procurement process and that is expected to be turned in by the second week of December.

“After the analysis of the Proposal by the
various would-be concessionaires, a successful concessionaire will be announced
and that will be followed quickly by the financial closure.

“We are certain that based on our
projection, by the end of the first quarter of 2013, there will be a breaking
of ground on the second Niger project, which means that the successful
concessionaire for the project will be on site”, he said.

The Minister stated that the project would be
driven under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

He explained that under the PPP arrangement, the
federal government would take up 30 per cent equity in the stake, while the
successful concessionaire would be required to provide the balance of 70 per
cent counterpart funding.

The meeting was attended by Governors Martin
Elechi of Ebonyi State, Theodore Orji of Abia State and Rochas Okorocha of Imo
State.

Others in attendance were the Deputy Senate
President, Ike Ekweremadu, other leaders from the South East zone, Minister of
Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and some presidential aides.

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