The 2nd Niger Bridge construction might be delayed as Julius Berger Nigeria Plc has been arraigned before the Federal High Court in Awka on an alleged violation of Environmental Impact Assessment in the construction of the bridge.

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Also joined as defendants in the suit are the Federal Ministry of Works and B and Q Dredging.

The plaintiff is Ogbaru Community in Anambra State. The community is demanding N2.5bn as damages for the alleged environmental and health hazards stemming from the activities of the respondents in the construction of the 2nd Niger bridge.

The community alleged that more than 160 buildings from 15 communities in the Ogbaru Council Area on the coastal line of the River Niger had been adversely affected by the ongoing construction, which passed through Asaba to Ogbaru and stretched to Obosi.

The community also claimed that the activities of the construction company had polluted River Niger, their only source of water supply, with an attendant negative impact on aquatic and domestic lives.

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They sought a court order to compel the defendants to recognise, deal and negotiate all terms and conditions of works with the Ogbaru Local Government Area Chairman in respect of the project being constructed.

When the matter came up before Justice I.B. Gafai on Tuesday, neither the defendants nor their counsel was in court.

Justice Gafai said the court would not proceed in the matter without the presence of the defendants and fixed September 29, 2020, for the commencement of the hearing.

This is as the Federal Government promised to complete the Second Niger Bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in the first quarter of 2022.

It disclosed that the roads were considered as essential infrastructure and projected to be delivered in less than two years.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, stated this in a live television programme.

He said, “The Second Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kaduna-Kano roads are part of the projects under the Federal Government’s essential infrastructure development fund and their expected delivery dates are in quarter one of 2022.”

Before the Lockdown occasioned by the pandemic, Julius Berger Plc had mobilised 1,300 workers and 450 equipment to the site to enable it to complete the project in 2022.