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2nd Niger Bridge: Julius Berger Faces N2.5bn Lawsuit

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Julius Berger PLC, the contractor in charge of the construction of the Second Niger Bridge, has been slammed with a court case.

The Ogbaru Community in Anambra State has dragged the construction giant before the Federal High Court in Awka, Anambra State.

The community is alleging a violation of Environmental Impact Assessment in the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge.





Also joined as defendants in the suit are the Federal Ministry of Works and B and Q Dredging.

The community is seeking N2.5bn as damages for the alleged environmental and health hazards. This they claimed arose from the activities of the respondents in the construction of the bridge.

 

The plaintiff claimed that more than 160 buildings from 15 communities in the Ogbaru Council Area on the coastal line of the River Niger had been adversely affected by the ongoing construction. These activities passed through Asaba to Ogbaru and stretched to Obosi.

The community claimed that the activities of the construction company had polluted River Niger. They say the river is their only source of water supply. This has also had a negative impact on aquatic and domestic lives.

They sought a court order to compel the defendants to recognise, deal and negotiate all terms and conditions of works with the Ogbaru Local Government Area chairman in respect of the project being constructed.

When the matter came up before Justice I.B. Gafai on Tuesday, neither the defendants nor their counsel was in court.





The project was awarded to Julius Berger Plc in 2014 by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The Second Niger Bridge project was conceived to provide an alternative crossing between Asaba and Onitsha. This is so as to achieve a reasonable distance from the current.

The Second Niger Bridge project, which is estimated to gulp about N220bn, has been experiencing delays owing to various challenges which had affected its timely implementation.





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