FG Deploys Special Police Squad to Protect Second Niger Bridge

By Chuks Peter, DELTA

The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced a substantial monetary reward for individuals or groups who provide information leading to the arrest of vandals damaging the Second Niger Bridge and other national road infrastructure.

The Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi, made this pledge in response to the recent vandalisation of the Second Niger Bridge, condemning the act as “evil and cowardly.”

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Uchenna Orji, Umahi expressed strong disapproval of the destruction of the bridge’s expansion joints, labeling it a deliberate act of sabotage against a vital national asset with significant socio-economic benefits for the contiguous states and the entire nation.

“It is disheartening that anyone in their right mind could destroy such a critical and strategic asset that catalyses Nigeria’s socio-economic advancement,” Umahi stated.

He reiterated the importance of the Second Niger Bridge, which was completed and handed over to the ‘Renewed Hope’ administration on December 12, 2023.

This bridge is one of the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) projects aimed at addressing the infrastructure needs of the region and boosting economic activities by enhancing access to southern Nigeria.

Umahi praised a patriotic young Nigerian who raised the alarm about the vandalism through a video, promising that a more robust security system would be established to prevent further damage.

He called on road users, residents, and authorities to vigilantly monitor the 1.6km concrete box girder bridge, the two secondary bridges of 21.7m each on Amakon village road, the cloverleaf interchange at Onitsha-Owerri road, and the adjoining roads between Asaba, Delta State, and Onitsha, Anambra State. He urged them to report any suspicious activities related to vandalism.

In response to the vandalism, the Delta State Commissioner of Police, CP Abaniwonda Olufemi, has dispatched a special squad to the Second Niger Bridge to enhance its security.

During a visit to the Asaba Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), led by its chairman, Ifeanyi Olannye, Olufemi disclosed that he had quickly sent his area commander to secure the site following the news of the vandalism.

“Those items (vandalised rail fittings) are so heavy, and it raises questions about how they were removed,” said Olufemi.

He also highlighted the impact of the ban on Okada and scrap iron scavenging, noting a significant reduction in crime across the state since its implementation.

He suggested that many of the vandals and criminals are involved in drug abuse, which exacerbates the issue.

“A lot of these ‘Okada’ riders don’t even have registration numbers, making it impossible to trace them when they commit traffic offenses,” Olufemi added, stressing the need for continued vigilance and stricter regulations

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