The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) Uche Orji has said that Lagos- Ibadan Expressway will be completed before the end of this year.
Orji stated this on Thursday February 27, 2022, during a panel session themed, ‘Economic Outlook, Sustainable Growth and Infrastructure Funding,’ organised by Deloitte Nigeria via Zoom. The event analysed Nigeria’s economic outlook in 2022.
He said, “The Lagos-Ibadan expressway is 77.78 per cent completed. What is left is all the big flyovers that need to be done on certain parts of that road, which is what is causing the traffic at the moment. The time for completion is the end of this year.”
He also disclosed that the Second Niger Bridge would be completed by April next year, while the first phase would be commissioned before the end of 2022.
“The Second Niger Bridge is a $700 million investment actually. We will be coupling the bridge hopefully by March, latest April. The final beams are arranged. The first phase would be commissioned before the end of this year. Again, this is a project that has been in the works for more than 30 years, but it was executed through the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) scheme between 2018 and 2022,” he said.
Orji used the opportunity to highlight the importance of private sector partnerships in building infrastructure as he noted that the government could not bear the weight of doing huge projects alone.
“We cannot have enough of these schemes, so anything that can bring the private sector into the project is very important. While working on the Second Nigeria Bridge, we did not have any variation in cost in the last four years of the project because the risk was properly identified at the beginning. It was designed along the scheme that transferred a lot of risks to the contract, and this is how you design projects to limit your risks as a government.
“You have to make sure design is done properly before you embark on any project. Without those things, you end up having challenges.
“As I said at the beginning, we see this everywhere; it is not just Nigeria that suffers abandoned projects, by the way. The same infrastructure challenges we face here are what we face in other countries. It is just that we have a huge inflationary environment and we should be more careful,” he stressed.
The PIDF is managed by the NSIA. It consists of some bits of government capital, NSIA’s and third party capital, and is responsible for funding the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge and Abuja-Kano road constructions, Orji explained.
The Second Niger Bridge is being constructed across Nigeria’s Niger River and will span Asaba to Ozubulu and Ogbaru areas. It was initiated by the Goodluck Jonathan administration and sustained by President Muhammadu Buhari. The president has vowed to complete the project before the end of his tenure.
The Lagos–Ibadan Expressway is a 127.6-kilometre road connecting Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, and Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital. It is also the major route to the northern, southern and eastern parts of Nigeria.
The reconstruction of the road was flagged off in July 2013 by Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria and Reynolds Construction Company Limited at a sum of N167 billion, equivalent to $838,986,290.
Travelling on the road in recent times has been a horror for motorists and commuters because of the activities of kidnappers. At least, seven people have been kidnapped within two months on the road, with two persons shot dead.