The construction of 2nd Niger Bridge through a Public Private Partnership involving Julius Berger -NSIA Consortium and tolling the Igbo people for 25 years thereafter is another 419 on the Biafran Igbo citizens of South East Nigeria. According to the terms of this fraudulent business, the project is a Design, Finance, Build, Operate and Transfer (DFBOT) model to cost N117 Billion naira with the Federal Government contributing a paltry N30 billion naira while the consortium will raise the rest of the funds and thereafter hold the Igbo people to ransom by collecting a 25 year toll tax for raising the rest of the funds offshore.
President Jonathan speaking at the ground breaking ceremony at Onitsha in March 2014 said that “as part of our administration’s Transformation Agenda in the road sector, we have set out to construct two very important new bridges, across our Nation’s two great rivers – the River Niger and River Benue.These are the Loko-Oweto Bridge linking Nasarawa and Benue States,which is progressing satisfactorily, and this 2nd Niger Bridge, connecting Anambra and Delta States.” It is worthy to note that the other bridges are being constructed by Jonathan regime without any PPP and without any toll tax on the people of Benue and Nasarrawa States.
This means that all President Ebele Jonathan can do for the Igbos since they gave him unprecedented support since 2010 is to contribute only N30 billion naira while some Shylock consortium raises the rest of the money and milks the Igbo nation for 25 years.
Experts have told me that the bridge is not supposed to cost anything above N50 billion , going by Nigerian standard of cost inflation, including the 11 km access roads. However, this contract cost was doubled overnight to N117 billion naira to justify the financial heist on Ndigbo. The fraudulent construction will cost N117 billion for a 1.5 km bridge while the 1.3 km Lekki-Ikoyi suspension Bridge cost only N29 billion naira. Thus the thieves jerked the cost of constructing the 2nd Niger bridge to 4 times the actual cost just to justify the rape on the over grateful Igbo nation.
Informed sources within Ohanaeze and among Igbo leaders and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) have continued to echo that this 2nd Niger Bridge business venture is actually between Julius Berger, Ebele Jonathan and Peter Obi and that Mr Peter Obi’s 2nd Niger Bridge business venture will yield at least N12 billion naira annually. Reliable sources have revealed that whenever the bridge is finished, all heavy duty vehicles will pay N1000 toll fee while cars and mini buses will pay N500 naira. Tricycles will pay N200 while cyclists will pay N100 naira each time they pass through the bridge.
This criminal toll gate will yield the corrupt business consortium and their secret sponsors about N1 billion monthly. This means that in 4 years, the thieves would have recovered N50 billion which is the actual over-exaggerated cost of constructing (going by the Federal Ministry of Works Corrupt Standard). Going by the Governor Fashola Run Lagos State standard, the bridge will not cost anything above N30 billion naira and thieves will take about two years plus to recover their investments and the rest 22 years will be excess profit.
The financial interpretation of this criminality is that for 25 years with static revenue of N12 billion annually (ignoring the tendencies to increase the toll fee after 2 years) , the thieves will make N300 billion naira turnover with 250 billion naira as profit. This means that their investment is recouped within 4 years and the rest 21 years is profit. If the cost of such offshore long term cost is factored, usually 2.5 -5% per annum, and its future value for 25 years is factored, it cannot get any anywhere near N60 billion naira and yet the financial bandits are bandying N117 billion naira as cost of constructing the bridge.
The implication is that some politicians within the presidency and Anambra State Govt House have done 419 on the Igbo nation and we are all smiling like charmed drunks. If the entire Igbo nation is charmed, I am not. God will definitely disgrace the thieves that want to put the Igbo race into a slavish bondage of paying through the nose for a Niger Bridge when all the rest of Nigeria, from Benue to Kogi , Calabar to Lagos,Maidugeri to Sokoto and all over Nigeria has bridges, dams, silos, roads etc built with Federal Government money while the defeated Biafran Igbos of South East will have theirs built and tolled for 25 years.
For all the support Ndigbo gave Ebele Azikkiwe Jonathan since 2010, a PPP modeled 2nd Niger Bridge is far worse that what Awolowo did when Ojukwu released him from Calabar prison and he promised to declare Oduduwa Republic, but chickened out at the deceptive offer of Gowon. This time around, this disappointment is not from a Soyinka nor Obasajo nor Tinubu, rather it is under the supervision of “our cousin” Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, and our former Chairman, Board of Trustees of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) ‘Igbo Party” Peter Obi and world acclaimed Igbo Economist Okonjo Iwuala whose economic wisdom failed to notice the injustice and criminality in this transaction.
Condemning the fraud called 2nd Niger Bridge, former governor of Anambra State and serving senator, Dr Chris Ngige said that “The first is that the bridge is being built on a Public Private Partnership(PPP) deal, with overseas financiers. For that reason, the cost of the bridge suffered double inflation, both from the Nigeria end and the financiers who alleged cost of fund.
“The bridge, which should have cost N70 billion is now to cost N114 billion, that was why I told the South-East Senate Caucus that I was not going to be a part of it”. Ngige even got it wrong-the bridge should have cost between N30-N50 billion naira, and factoring cost of funds it should be t around N40-N60 Billion if PPP should be used.
Ohanaeze and all Igbo leaders should condemn this enslavement of Ndigbo through this over-bloated and fraudulent construction of a bridge and must demand immediately the cancellation of this PPP Design, Finance, Build, Operate and Transfer model .
Jonathan led Government should takeover the responsibility for the full construction of that bridge, and settle off the fraudulent consortium. This fraudulent 419 2nd Niger Bridge should be revised for a full scale Federal Government Built arrangement before another scandal erupts.
Written by Obinna Akukwe