Don't Miss

We have not suspended work on second Niger Bridge – Minister

By on April 30, 2014

Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam, yesterday said contrary to speculations and media reports, her ministry had not stopped work on the ongoing construction of the second Niger Bridge.

Media reports had earlier quoted the minister as saying that the federal government erred in commencing work on the construction of the second Niger Bridge without considering the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) law, prompting the ministry to consequently stop work on the project.

Speaking through the Deputy Director, Press and Information, Ben Goong, the minister said: “Without mincing words, the ministry wishes to state in unmistakable terms that the minister never at any point, either at that press conference or any other occasion make that statement.  The report is false, misleading and politically motivated. The report is totally lacking in facts and depth.”

She explained that “there is no record anywhere in the Ministry of Environment or Works or the consortium handling the project indicating that the Minister of Environment has stopped the work on the second Niger Bridge.  You can’t just stop work of that magnitude with the word of mouth.”

The minister stated that her views which were made at the instance of the visiting Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mustapha Pulat and Turkish construction companies’ chief executives, did not allude to the stoppage of work at the second Niger Bridge, but that an interim certificate of EIA was issued to the construction companies to accelerate the progress of the project.

According to Goong, the minister told the visiting delegation that ‘the Nigerian government has placed a high premium on environmental issues, and that is why government itself has to follow due process by obtaining an interim certificate of EIA on the second Niger Bridge’.  The minister at that point even called the relevant director to elaborate on the process and procedure for obtaining the EIA certificate, which the director did.”

Explaining the main issue, Goong said: “In the case of the second Niger Bridge, both the Ministry of Works, the consortium in-charge of the project and the Federal Ministry of Environment complied with all due processes and the Minister of Environment issued an EIA interim certificate No. FMENV/EA/EIA/2387/1/67 to give a green light for the commencement of the project.”
He maintained that “what we have, and which is properly documented is an interim EIA certificate duly signed by the Minister of Environment.  The stoppage of work on the project for which the Minister of Environment has given full approval in writing therefore exist only in the imagination of the mischief makers.

“We make bold to say that we have the proceedings of that press conference on tape, both in audio and video, and that at no time did the Minister ever say she stopped work on the project.

“Members of the public are hereby enjoined to totally disregard the story and indeed the distraction it is intended to generate.  We also appreciate the timely response of the Minister of Works, Julius Berger and all other relevant stakeholders to the effect that work on that all important project, the second Niger Bridge, is progressing satisfactorily.”



[This Day]