The Federal Government says construction work on the East-West road will gulp N200 billion, including N13 billion on the failed Eleme axis of the road.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola said this on Wednesday during a visit to Rivers State to assess the state of work on the 38km Bodo-Bonny link road under construction by Julius Berger.

Fashola expressed satisfaction at the speed and quality of work going on. He explained that funding for the N200 billion project was under of a tax credit scheme arrangement between the Federal Government and Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas NLNG, though it was a full government project.

“We are trying to connect two communities of Rivers, Bodo on the mainland and Bonny on the island. And it’s instructive to point out because I hear some comments that the Federal Government is not doing anything in Rivers.

“Bodo and Bonny are parts of Rivers. This is an investment of N200 billion in one state. But the money is not as important as its long-term significance. So, when you talk about poverty and you see a report about 133 million people in poverty, yes, those are the problems, but what are the solutions? This is one of the solutions.

“The project will be finished next year, and for clarity, it is funded by a policy of this government – the tax credit scheme initiated by President Buhari in 2019. So, NLNG is investing in it and the Federal Government is paying them back by giving them tax waivers over time,” he said.

The Project Manager, Julius Berger, Thomas Haug explained the level of work done to the minister even as the Traditional Ruler, Osogbonye Long-John commended the Federal Government for the project.

The Federal Works Controller, Olufemi Adetunji told journalists that there are four major and 11 minor bridges on the road even, pointing out that the work was being carried out simultaneously on different stretches.

In constructing the Bodo-Bonny link road, the Prefabricated Vertical Drainage technology would be deployed to deal with the swampy nature of the terrain. This is the same technology being used to construct the second Niger bridge.

On completion, the road will connect Bonny Island to the mainland by road. It is expected to be completed in December 2023.