Niger to Dualize Minna-Bida Road

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By Laleye Dipo

There are signs that the Niger State government will make bold its promise to dualize the Minna – Bida road which has been in the worst state of disrepair in recent time.

This followed the opening of bids submitted by potential contractors interested in handling the project.

THISDAY learnt that the bids were opened two weeks ago, but the winner has not been made public.

The Commissioner for Planning, Alhaji Mamman Musa, who now oversees the Ministry of Finance following the “medical leave” granted Alhaji Zakari Abubakar by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, confirmed the opening of the bids to THISDAY in Minna.

“Yes we have opened the bids. We followed due process in all that we did. Very soon, we will announce the winner,” Musa said.

According to him, “Very soon, the contract for the project will be signed and work will commence immediately.”

The state government had announced early November 2019 that it would secure a $181 million loan facility from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) which will be ploughed to the dualization of the road project.

However, the announcement to obtain the loan from the IDB did not go down well with the former governor of the state, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu, who told newsmen that he had acquired similar loan for the same project before leaving office.

Aliyu had said the $181 million hit the state account after he left office and therefore asked his successor to explain what he did with the money.

The state governor through his Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel Berje, denied that such money was left in the account of the state by ex- governor Aliyu.

In the meantime, Musa has said that government in the 2020 financial year will rehabilitate over 274 kilometres of roads constructed under the Rural Access and Mobility Programme.

The decision to rehabilitate the roads, Musa said, was to increase their life spans and make them serve the people better.

“This project has been included in the 2020 budget and the governor is very passionate about it,” he said.