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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has defended the huge debt profile amassed by his administration, which is put at N77 trillion, saying that it was invested in infrastructure as a deliberate way to fight poverty, create jobs, economic development and, prosperity and galvanise.

He said making infrastructure development a key focus in his administration was not by accident.

Speaking on Tuesday at the virtual inauguration of three bridges, three secretariats and one road project undertaken by his administration, he said: “We do not act on infrastructure by accident. It has been a deliberate choice for our government as a tool to fight poverty, to create economic growth and employment and to open the path of prosperity for our people.”

He emphasised that while he shared the concerns of Nigerians, the debts are tied to projects that have been executed in a very transparent circumstance and are there for everyone to see.

Buhari added that the wealth of other nations is traceable to their investments in infrastructure made possible by debts redeemed over decades.

He stated: “As we look at the debt profile, I urge us to also look at the assets and investment profiles, some of which were paid for by debt and some by investment income.


In eight years, I am proud to say that we have doubled Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from about 20 percent to over 40 percent and that is no small undertaking.

“The projects that we hand over today apart from others such as rail, sea and airports, gas pipeline projects that have been previously completed, symbolise our country’s sharp focus on delivering prosperity.”


A statement issued by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, said while elaborating on the significance of the projects, which he described as frontal efforts to address multi-dimensional poverty as well as improve business efficiency and service delivery time, Buhari said of the three bridges: “The Ikom Bridge is meant to boost trade in and around the Calabar Port and Free Zone and facilitate transport connectivity from the South-South, through the North Central to the North East. This is a bridge across the Cross River itself.

“The Second Niger Bridge, which has been long in the making, and is certainly now a reality, is a bridge of choice across the River Niger to bring relief to those crossing from the South-East to the South-West.


“The Loko-Oweto Bridge across the River Benue will provide a shorter connectivity for those traversing from Benue to Nasarawa and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). It cuts off travel through Lafia and provides connectivity to Keffi and to Abuja.”

Buhari also inaugurated 200 kilometres out of the 365 kilometres Abuja-Kano highway noting that the road, the Second Niger bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway were all funded partly from dividend income earned from investment in the Nigeria Liqudified Natural Gas (NLNG), repatriated funds from overseas, and recoveries from proceeds of crime successfully prosecuted at home.

“This is an example of the change that we promised; to invest dividend income in visible assets that last for generations and to put proceeds of crime to public and enduring use for the country.

“Our anti-corruption approach does not end in courts. Stolen and recovered assets are utilised for the common good,” he further said.


Buhari also inaugurated three federal secretariats in Anambra, Bayelsa and Zamfara states, believing that they would “reduce the cost of governance by bringing federal civil servants under one roof for efficient service delivery,” thereby reducing expenditure on rent for office spaces.

Names federal secretariats after ex-president Jonathan, Okeke, Gusau


The president also named the secretariats after distinguished Nigerians including Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who had the federal secretariat in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State named after him; Ebele Okeke, federal secretariat in Awka, Anambra State; and Malam Yahaya Gusau, federal secretariat in Gusau, Zamfara State.

In his remark, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the construction of the infrastructure generated economic activities around them, providing means of livelihood for hundreds of thousands who worked there.

Lennox Mall

According to him, “travel time is reduced by more than 50 percent in many of the places we surveyed; property values of landowners have appreciated by up to 30 percent in the surveys conducted on land values where we have delivered infrastructure.”

At inauguration, S/E govs name Second Niger Bridge after Buhari


Anambra State governor, Chukwuma Charles Soludo, has described the inauguration of the Second Niger Bridge as a fundamental change that will catalyse new waves of prosperity and economic growth in the South-East region.

Soludo made the disclosure at the inauguration and handover of the bridge, which was officially named as Muhammadu Buhari Second Niger Bridge by the South-East governors


The official ceremony was performed by the president at the bridge head and Asaba-end on Tuesday.

The governor noted that he was personally overjoyed because the people of the South-East had long advocated infrastructural development, just as he listed other four major projects desired in the region to include the dredging of three channels that will give the South-East access to the Atlantic, the construction of the Anambra-Lokoja Road, the gas pipeline, and the railway line.

“We express our heartfelt gratitude for connecting Anambra, Asaba, and Delta.”

In their separate remarks, the governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowo, represented by his Chief of Staff, Ovie Agas and the governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma, said that the bridge which is a promise made and kept will link the old eastern region, old western region and outside the world.


Earlier, Buhari expressed delight at being able to provide developmental services as part of his efforts to upgrade and renew Nigeria’s infrastructure, stressing that it is used to combat poverty and promote economic growth for the people.

On his part, Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola stated that the bridge’s unveiling connects every part of Nigeria, which he described as a story of development.

In their separate remarks, the governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowo, represented by his Chief of Staff, Ovie Agas and the governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma, said that the bridge which is a promise made and kept will link the old eastern region, old western region and outside the world.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of State for Works and Housing, Umar Ibrahim El-Yakub, President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Managing Director of Julius Berger Construction Company, Dr. Lars Richter, among others attended the inauguration.

Source: Nigerian Tribune

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