N8.9Bn: Calabar Port to zoom into limelight, as FEC approves reconstruction of Ikom Bridge

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…Stakeholder says Hadiza broke Ikom Bridge jinx!***

The dream of opening up the Calabar Port for the use of the business class operating on the Northern axis by every Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Managing Director is set to be realized, as the Hadiza Bala Usman have seemingly broken the decades old jinx, with yesterday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval of N8.9 billion, for the construction of Ikom bridge and the Calabar Road.

Presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, the FEC on Wednesday actually approved N35.6 billion for the reconstruction of several roads and bridge in the country, especially the Ikom Bridge.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola who disclosed this, while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the Council’s meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja also said the road and bridge would be completed within a period of 24 months; so as to create a desired access to the Calabar Port for trailers to move freely with their containers.

The Minister said that N11.78 billion was approved for Nguru –Gashua – Balmari road in Yobe State, while N8.6 billion was approved for Ilorin – Kishi road in Kwara State.

Speaking further, Fashola highlighted that the Council also approved N5.4 billion for another road project in Abia State; while N933 million was also approved for automatic meter reading equipment for Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

“The other project that was approved relates to power and this is the approval to procure at the request of the TCN an automatic meter reading machine and services – that will include the installation of equipment and also the training of engineers, auditors, IT engineers who will operate and maintain the system.

“The total installation period is 18 months, supply and installation.

“The cost is N933.7million and the purpose is to facilitate remote meter reading for wholesale,’’ he said.

According to Fashola, the wholesale meters are different from the retail meters, saying that smooth implementation of the wholesale meters would help in dispute resolution as data can be easily produced online and eliminate all delays in the system. The Minister was however silent on the issue of retail metering.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who fielded a question on the controversy surrounding NYSC exemption certificate of the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said the Federal Government had already responded to the allegation via statement from the NYSC.

“The government has spoken. NYSC is part of government and I have nothing to add to what the NYSC has said’’, he concluded.

An industry watcher, Samuel Egbewole whose view was sought praised the FEC approval, stressing that once the Ikom Bridge bottleneck was tackled, the Calabar Port would zoom into reckoning, as the business class operating on the Northern axis would no longer need to use the Lagos Port again, as it would be easier and faster to go through the Calabar Port.

“This is great news. Container induced accidents would reduce around Lagos, and economic activities would also pick up around Calabar Port. Looks like Hadiza has finally broken the Ikom Bridge jinx!” he indicated further