The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, says a new double-lane bridge between Nigeria and Cameroon will facilitate free trade, curb insecurity.
Mr Fashola stated this on Monday while inspecting the newly constructed 1.5km, the two-lane bridge on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon in Ekot-Mfum, Etung local government area of Cross River.
The bridge construction began on April 28, 2017, and ended in March 2021, costing $35.9 billion.
Both countries provided funding for the project, said Mr Fashola, noting that the bridge will also strengthen relations between both countries and improve cross-border security.
”This is the first shoot of the harvest of completed projects proposed as the administration enters the second phase of the second term on its way out,” he said. “We have had a strong relationship with the Republic of Cameroon in terms of trade and business.”
Speaking further, he said, “If you go to Aba, Enugu, and Abakaliki, for example, I can tell you that they are on the route that facilitates trade in agro-produce, merchandise, and manufactured goods from Aba in Abia state. You can only expect that this will improve joint border patrol, ensure security.”
He pointed out that “Nigeria is now a signatory to the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement,” so the bridge “positions” both nations to benefit from AfCFTA.
On revenue generation, the minister stated that the bridge was a social asset and that the happiness and prosperity of Nigerians were “enough payment.”
“These are social assets, and we must understand that the recoupment is the happiness and the prosperity of the people of Nigeria,” Mr Fashola pointed out. “The prosperity of the people is the reason why President Muhammadu Buhari is pushing this infrastructure renewal.”
The minister added that “for as long as our people are happy, they can travel easily, they can reduce their journey, safe time on the road because if you save time you save money and am sure the President is delighted.”