The Minister of Works, Arc. Mike Onolememen has assured Nigerians that the construction of Loko – Oweto Bridge will be completed by 2015. He made this assurance during an inspection visit to the site and was accompanied by the Director (Highways), North Central and other delegates from the Ministry recently.
Arc. Onolememen disclosed that the project awarded to Messrs RCC Nig Ltd on 2ndNov., 2011 at a cost of approximately 36 billion did not take off on time due to issues bothering on change of project alignment necessitated by the need to avoid difficult terrain over which the alignment initially traversed and also abnormal high water level occasioned by the unusual flood of the 2012 rainy season which has now been adequately addressed with the ongoing work.
The Minister revealed that upon re-design, the contract now consists of the construction of two dual carriage bridges across River Benue with 3.88km long approach at Loko end in Nasarawa State and 3.09km lond approach road at Oweto in Benue State.
Arch. Onolememen assured that the funding of the project will not be a problem as the project is now under (Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE P) and 30 billion has already been allocated to the project in fulfilment of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda in the Road Sector.
He reiterated the President’s commitment to the completion of the road for easy movement of people, goods and services, from the South-East geo-political zone to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja by 2015. He commended the contractor for the quality of work done so far which he said is moving in accordance to the contract specification. He directed Messrs. RCC to increase the tempo of work.
The Minister revealed that the bridge will boost economic activities between Loko and Oweto and the completion would reduce time from Abuja to South East as the road will burst out at Otukpa Junction close to Enugu State.
After the inspection, the Minister paid a courtesy visit to the Emir of Loko, Alhaji Abu Sabo Ahmed, where he appealed to the Emir, to ensure that the indigenes allow the contractor to carry out construction work on the road and for his support on the project.
The Emir in his response appreciated the visit of the Minister and expressed the satisfaction of his people with the transformation agenda of Mr. President which has remembered them and made them fill the presence of government since 1926 when Lord. Lugard was using Loko as his meeting point with the leaders from Northern Nigeria.