The Regent of the Oba Community in the Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Prince Noel Ezenwa, and the traditional ruler of the Obosi Community in the North Idemili Local Government Area of the State, Igwe Chidubem Iweka III, saluted the federal government over the Second Niger Bridge.
Both monarchs praised the Federal Government for finding it necessary to build the project in the interest of Nigerians. The Second Niger Bridge passed through both communities.
Prince Ezenwa, who spoke to reporters in Oba on Wednesday, charged the government with ensuring the speedy completion of the project as outlined in its specifications.
He noted that the proposed toll gate on the bridge was also a way to provide security and other amenities on the bridge.
The monarch advised the motoring public not to worry about establishing a toll on the bridge, but to look at the benefits it would offer.
He added that the tollbooth was not only a place to spend money, but also can serve as a relaxation center with a safe environment, where motorists can relax and unwind traveling long distances.
He said: “Tollgate should not only be on the Second Bridge of Niger, but should also be established in all nooks and crannies of the country at a distance of 100 kilometers, as it was before its repeal by the regime of former President Olusegun. Obasanjo.
“Nigerians should not see toll gates just as a place where they would spend money, but as a relaxation center with a safe environment. It should be seen as a place of relaxation where motorists can stop, eat, freshen up, rest before taking off.
“About 90 percent of the traffic accidents we experience on our highways are caused by fatigue because motorists have nowhere like the tollbooth to relax, rest, freshen up and shop before hitting the road again.”
For his part, the traditional ruler of Obosi, Igwe Chidubem Iweka III, granted a chieftaincy title to one of the expatriate engineers saying he was impressed with the project.
He said: “The Obosi community and I are impressed with the bridge and the community decided to confer a chieftaincy title of Agu Simba (Lion of Another Land) on the project manager of Julius Berger Nigeria Limited, the contractor running the project, Mr. Frederick. Weisser, during our recent annual Obiora cultural festival, making Weisser a member of Obosi’s royal cabinet.”
One of the motorists who passed over the bridge on Wednesday, who gave his name as Samuel Onwuegbuchulam, expressed his enthusiasm for the temporary opening of the bridge, saying it eased commuter traffic.
Onwuegbuchulam, returning from Lagos for Christmas, said: “I am very pleased that the federal government has done something tangible on Igbo land for the first time.
“Since I was born in 1967, I have never seen any project located on Igbo land, except this Second Bridge over Niger. If it wasn’t for this Second Niger Bridge, I wouldn’t have reached Obosi from Lagos by now.
“I would have been stuck in a usual traffic jam on the first bridge in Niger. Therefore, I am very grateful to the federal government for accomplishing this feat and I implore them not to give up until the project is fully completed.”