FG To Finish Repair Work On First Niger Bridge In December |The Republican News



Mr Innocent Alumonah, Federal Controller of Works, Anambra says the Federal Government will complete repair work on the existing Niger Bridge before the end of December.

Alumonah, who gave the assurance while speaking with newsmen on Monday in Asaba, said that the contract awarded in 2013 was 78 percent completed.

He said the essence of the emergency repair work was to ensure that the bridge was brought back to its full functionality and increase its lifespan.

The controller said the existing bridge was constructed in 1965 and commissioned in 1966, adding that the bridge had enjoyed a lifespan of 53 years.

“You can agree with me that the bridge is ageing and experiencing heavy traffic in addition to the axle loads going through it on daily basis.

“It is on this premise that the federal government decided to award a contract for the reinforcement of the bridge to bring it back to full functionality and extend its lifespan,” he said.

He said the scope of works on the project was mainly replacement of the damaged steel members, sandblasting and treatment of steel members against rusting.

Alumonah said the scope of the work also involved increasing the bearing capacity of the soil after it was realised that the wearing capacity was becoming weak.

“Soil line protection that will ensure that embankment of the bridge is not eroded and the replacement of the bridge bearing has all been carried out.

“Before the end of this year, we should see the end of the project because it is currently at its completion stage,” he said.

He blamed the delay in the completion of the project on some of the test carried out that required the assistance of some foreigners.

According to him, they brought in some foreigners from the UK who helped in the execution of the stabilisation of the soil.

Mr Henry Udeh, the Director of Highways Bridges Construction, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing said bridges, like other structures, required regular maintenance.

He said the existing Niger Bridge was undergoing normal routine maintenance because it was old and needed to be maintained to increase its lifespan.

“The work is seasonal because, as the raining season is setting in, the water level will start increasing.

“Once it gets to a time that the contractor cannot work again, they will stop and wait for the next dry season.

“That is one of the major reasons for the delay in the project,” he said. (The Sun)

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Second Niger Bridge Yet To Be Awarded, Says FG |The Republican News



Aidoghie Paulinus, who was in Onitsha

Despite assurances by the Federal Government on the completion of the Second Niger Bridge, the contract for the construction of the main bridge has not been awarded, Daily Sun can report.

But soothing news, however, came from the Director of Highways, Bridges and Design, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Engr Sogbesan Adetokunbo, who said the award of the contract is on the pipeline.

Adetokunbo said a memo will be forwarded to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) soon for approval and the construction of the bridge will be carried out within a period of fewer than two years.

He added that in order to complete the bridge, the project would require a total sum of N210 billion.

Adetokunbo said: “The early works one to three has been completed. Early works one comprising of the design of the road, soil investigation, preliminary drawing and fine engineering drawing.

“Early works two and three comprising of pile caps on Asaba end, and early works four which is ongoing, is at the Onitsha end. And some of these pile caps have been completed as at date.
“Like I said, one, two and three are hundred percent completed. But on this project, it is about 45 percent completion; early works four.

“But the main works which are the main bridge is at the point of procurement. The estimate has been completed, a memo has been written to the Bureau of Public Procurement for no objection and thereafter, a memo would be sent to FEC for approval and once it is approved, the main works will be awarded.”

Adetokunbo further said roads were awarded along with the bridge such as Road (A) that connects the Benin-Asaba end which is about 13 kilometres.

He also said Road (2) is about 15 kilometres, adding that the entire corridor is about 40 kilometres.

“What we are doing now is about five or six piling on Asaba end and about six or seven on Onitsha end.

“The early works one, two and three were done under Public Private Partnership (PPP), but the Federal Government felt we shouldn’t toll it.

“So, the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing took it over. We are paying now. We are paying 100 percent for the project as at date.

“But the main works will be awarded in the next one or two months and the roads 2A and 2B will be awarded very soon, before the end of this year,” Adetokunbo added.

Adetokunbo also said once the main bridge is awarded, it will not take up to two years before completion.

“It will not be up to two years to be completed. It will be completed within two years,” he said.

Asked how much was needed to complete the main bridge, Adetokunbo said: “It is about N210 billion at the current rate to complete the main bridge works.”

Speaking earlier, Adetokunbo said the project is a massive and essential project that connects Lagos port to Mombasa Port in Kenya.

He added that the project is one that is very critical, not only to the Nigerian economy but to the countries along the road corridor which include Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Uganda and Kenya.

Adetokunbo also said the project is to connect Lagos port to Mombasa port to enhance economic activities not only in Nigeria but Africa in general.

Speaking earlier, the Federal Controller of Works, Anambra state, Engr Innocent Alumonah, said the Second Niger Bridge is 1.59 kilometres in length and located 1.7 kilometres on the downstream sector of the existing Niger Bridge.

The bridge, Alumonah added, has two end spans of 40 meters, two number intermediate spans of 90 meters and 16 numbers intermediate spans of 55 meters.

The Second Niger Bridge, Alumonah also said, has three navigational channels, making a total of 1.59 kilometres. (The Sun)

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Okada Riders In Onitsha Protest Extortion, Harassment By Police |RN


Commercial Motorcyclists known as ‘Okada riders’ in local parlance

Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha |

The commercial motorcycle operators known as ‘Okada’ took to the streets and roads of Onitsha protesting the force a police patrol team for allegedly knocking down one operator, and for harassment and extortion by police in the state capital.

The group in their numbers blocked the old market road with their motorcycles in protest against officers from Inland Town Police Station who is said to have knocked down an Okada rider at ABS junction, Awka road Onitsha.

They operators caused serious gridlock along the road for some time before they continued their movement.

They later went to various police stations in the commercial city to register their grievance, appealing to the government and police authorities to call the police patrol teams to order for allegedly harassing and extorting money from them.

A spokesperson of the group Mr. Linus Chukwuma lamented that the knocking down of an elderly man by the patrol team with the intention of seizing his motorcycle triggered them to mount their protest, stressing that it was not the first time such thing would happen.

He accused police of frequently targeting Okada riders who earn a living on the job, stressing that their motorcycles are indiscriminately seized and remanded at police stations if they refuse to “settle” on the road, that and when it gets to the station more money for the collection of their machines would be paid. 

“We are protesting the harassment and extortion of Okada riders by police in Onitsha. We are appealing to the government and police authority to help to stop it because it’s becoming too much for us bear. We will come in the morning to go find what to feed our family members, police will collect the money one way or the other. Police will stop you on the road, [but] instead of asking about your documents or driver’s license what he will do is to ask you to get down from your bike and the next thing is for them to carry your bike to the station for no just cause. They will tell you to come to the station to carry it and when you get there, they will tell you to pay N3200 before you carry it,” the spokesman said.

“This afternoon the police patrol team from Inland Town Police Station knocked down an Okada rider, an elderly man at Awka road Onitsha; he is now between life and death. We don’t know whether he will survive it or not; he was rushed to the hospital. The policemen and the civilians they used to arrest motorcycles ran away immediately the incident happened. Police should leave us alone on the road, we are not thieves.”

“There is hunger in the land that is why we are riding Okada to feed our families; is it better to go and steal? If we leave our motorcycles and start robbery, it is the same policemen that will be arresting us for stealing; why should they be disturbing us while carrying out our legitimate duties. Most us are driving hire-purchase [motorcycles] to pay the owner between N400, 000 and N 500, 000. We have children paying their school fees, we are paying for house rent…” Chukwuma lamented.

In swift reaction, the Divisional Police Officer ( DPO) in charge of Inland Police Station, Mr. A.N Kayinde, a Superintendent of Police (SP), said that the briefing from the patrol team officers revealed that the police van was following the Okada man along the road and immediately he saw police at his back he turned with force and fell inside the gutter, and that the same policemen rescued him and took him to the hospital for treatment.

He wondered why the Okada man was running when he saw a police patrol vehicle, but promised to get the root of the matter, saying that after treatment he would hear his own angle, saying also that he would not condone any act that would tarnish image of the police. (The Sun)

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BREAKING: Gunmen Attack Another Anambra Church, Kill Policeman, Civilian


St-Philip Church Ozubulu, The Republican News

St Philip Catholic Church Ozubulu, scene of the attack. File Photo: Anambra Police Command

Gunmen on Sunday struck at the Assemblies of God Church on the Oguta road Onitsha, Anambra State killing one policeman and a civilian.

This is coming seven days after gunmen attacked St Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu and killed no fewer than 13 persons and injured 27.

An eyewitness account told our correspondent that the gunmen had momentarily stopped at the Assemblies of God Church, but on sighting some policemen at the church, opened fire on them.

“When the firing became too hot, the policemen abandoned their patrol vehicle and ran away for safety.

“The gunmen moved to their patrol van and took a gun belonging to the policeman they killed.

“I saw two of the gunmen but I can’t say how many they are in number.

Another eyewitness said, “Gunmen on Okada (motorcycle) shot a policeman and collected his rifle. They also shot dead an Okada man while escaping, and the passenger he was carrying was injured. The policeman was the one armed among his colleagues; they were providing security while church service was going on at Assemblies of God Church, Oguta road Onitsha.

The Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr Garba Umar confirmed the incident to journalists.

He said it was not an attack on the church, adding “My men were on patrol near the church when they were attacked by some gunmen. It was not an attack on the church, in the real sense of it”.

The commissioner confirmed that the hoodlums took away a rifle belonging to the slain cop.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige had on Saturday said the Federal Government would work out modalities on how to secure places of worship in the country.

Leading a federal government delegation to commiserate with the people of Anambra State on the Ozubulu shooting, Ngige said that had become expedient following incessant attacks on places of worship.  (

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UPDATE: Many Trapped, 10 Buildings, Banks, Markets, Filling Station Razed In Onitsha

From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha

Many people were trapped, yesterday, as fire razed about 15 buildings in Onitsha, Anambra state.

The fire started at about 8.20pm, yesterday, from a filling station at Denis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha (DMGS) Junction. Banks, street markets and many vehicles were burnt.

It was gathered that the fire was caused by a tanker loaded with fuel, which lost control and fell into the filling station situated at DMGS Roundabout and exploded on impact.

At the time of filing this report, the fire was still raging, despite the presence of officials of Fire Service who came an hour after the fire started, but could not stop it from spreading. It was also gathered that many were injured while trying to escape from their buildings, while others sustained injurirs while trying to remove valuables from their shops and houses. As at last night, there was no official confirmation of the number of casualties, but security operatives and the Red Cross were on ground to secure life and property.

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BREAKING NEWS: Petrol Station Opposite DMGS In Onitsha On Fire, Spreading To Nearby Houses

BY Ike A. Offor

The petrol station opposite the prestigious Dennis Memorial Grammar School in Onitsha is on fire.  What a tragedy at the DMGS round about which unfolded this night.

An eye-witness and a reporter from The Republican News described the incident as unnerving with the heat of the fire heating up the atmosphere and the environment.

A good numbers of firefighters from around Onitsha are indeed needed to have control over the fire as that is quickly spreading to nearby houses in the vicinity

The firefighters on the scene are likely unable to handle such inferno and so can’t quench the fire. It’s fast spreading to other buildings in upper new market road.

The Republican News reporter, who spoke to some eye witnesses said that a tanker perhaps carrying petrol fell and caught fire.

There has been no record of casualty at the time of this report.


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