HURIWA opposes the FG’s proposed toll on the Second Niger Bridge, claiming Abacha and Ibori looted its construction

The Federal Government was slammed by the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on Thursday over its proposed toll of the nearly finished, 1.6-kilometer-long Second Niger Bridge connecting Anambra and Delta State.

In a statement, Emmanuel Onwubiko, the national coordinator of HURIWA, said that the project was financed using tax dollars collected as theft from former Delta State governor James Ibori and Nigerian military leader General Sani Abacha.

The group claimed that tolling the bridge, which will soon be the only road in all of Nigeria with a toll gate, is unfair to not only Southern Nigeria but also to the entire nation because it is intended for usage by both southerners and northerners.

HURIWA argued that the $332.4 million in Abacha loot that the United States returned and the £4.2 million in Ibori loot that the United Kingdom paid to the Federal Government of Nigeria were the stolen property of all Nigerians and should be invested in vital infrastructure for the benefit of the entire nation.

Therefore, the organization argued, “it is unacceptable that the Second Niger Bridge will be subject to tolls upon completion following a decade-long impasse on the project.

Recall that the Second Niger Bridge, which was temporarily opened, will be tolled using the same system as the Lekki toll gate in Lagos, according to Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Channels Television on Wednesday.

To make traveling during the holiday break before the ultimate delivery date of May 2023, the Bridge was opened to traffic from December 15, 2022, to January 15, 2023.

In response, Onwubiko stated, “The bombshell announced by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), that the Second Niger Bridge will be tolled is wholly unacceptable and a betrayal by the dictatorship of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

“It is known that the Buhari administration promised to use the $332.4 million in recovered Abacha loot and the £4.2 million in returned Ibori loot to finance the building of the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan and the Abuja-Kano Expressways to the benefit of the people in each of these significant regions.

“In particular, the UK and the US made sure that the Nigerian Government committed to using the two loots recovered for infrastructure development, as overseen by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority.

“HURIWA considers it treacherous and absurd that the Buhari administration is now planning to charge for the Second Niger Bridge. Absolutely unacceptable. For once, Nigerians should take pleasure in receiving their ill-gotten taxes and resources in the shape of Abacha and Ibori loots. All Nigerians are urged by HURIWA to oppose the Second Niger Bridge’s proposed tolls because it is the only federally constructed bridge that will be tolled.

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