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Buhari Lists Gains, Expectations as Nigeria-Cameroon Border Bridge, Joint Border Post are Inaugurated

He said it would also serve as a critical link between ECOWAS countries and those of the Economic Community of Central African States.

President Muhammadu Buhari has in Ikom, Cross River State, while inaugurating the Nigeria-Cameroon Border Bridge and Joint Border Post listed the gains and expectations of the two countries to include boost in trade and combating terrorism.

The president also said the commissioning of the 1.5 metre bridge and post, funded by the two governments, as well as the African Development Bank (AfDB), would increase the volume of trade and commerce between the two countries.

A statement by the Special Adviser, Communications to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Hakeem Bello, said the Buhari was represented on the occasion by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada.

The president told the audience of top officials and members of the border communities as well as security agencies at the venue that the government of Nigeria expects that the joint border bridge and post will enhance security patrol and cooperation with the Republic of Cameroon.

“While we have confidence that this project will accomplish its set target, it is also our hope that it will complement the current efforts of the Federal Republics of Nigeria and Cameroon to combat the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism in our region”, the President declared.

He added that the activities of violent extremists had become a major challenge to the development of the sub regions.

“This menace has continued to threaten our economies and the maximisation of the potential of our countries as well as cause political upheavals and menace in our region. Hence it is our hope that the commissioning of this project will accelerate the efforts of our gallant security personnel who are already doing very well in securing our territories,” Buhari stated.

Expressing delight that the project would enhance the volume of economic activities in regions particularly as well as facilitate the movement of goods and services within the countries along the corridor, Buhari said it would also serve as a critical link between the countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and those of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

“Therefore, we expect that the commissioning of this joint border bridge and post will not only strengthen the already existing cordial relationship between Nigeria and Cameroon but will enhance cooperation between ECOWAS and ECCAS countries”.

“We also pray this project will enhance interconnectivity of our people and communities and also increase the standards and reduce the barrier to interregional trade and strengthen border security”, he said adding that it would certainly “deepen inextricably the fraternal and cultural bond already existing between Nigerians and Cameroonians living along the border communities”.

Buhari said the project, which, according to him, is part of the ongoing Nigeria-Cameroon Multinational Highway Transport Facilitation Programme, would remain a visible testimony to the continuing cooperation and good neighbourliness between Nigeria and Cameroon as well as regional economic communities.
“This bridge and the joint border post are proof that when African regions work with African institutions of standard, critical developmental projects can be achieved in record time”, the President said.

He further expressed delight that both Nigerians and Cameroonians living in the border areas had remained jubilant since the completion of the project.
In his own remarks, President Paul Biya, said the bridge and post facilities were expected to help increase trade and strengthen cooperation between countries of the ECOWAS and those of the ECCAS in general, and between Cameroon and Nigeria in particular.

Biya, who was represented by the Cameroonian Minister of Public Works, Mr. Emmanuel Nganou Njoumessi, said the direct beneficiaries of the programme were the transport services users, as well as the 11 million inhabitants (3 million in Cameroon and 8 million in Nigeria) in the programme area representing 7 per cent of the total population of the two countries.
He added that the programme would reduce overall transport cost and improve the living conditions of the populations living along the road.

The president said the programme for the transport facilitation of the Bamenda-Enugu road corridor was conceived by the founding fathers as a confidence building measure to strengthen relations between Nigeria and Cameroon following the strained relations arising as a result of the Bakassi Peninsula issue.

He explained further that the 443 kilometre long Bamenda-Enugu corridor comprises the Cameroon Bamenda-Mfum-Ekok Road sections, the Nigerian road sections of 240 kilometres, the bridge over the Munaya River in Cameroon and the border bridge of 230 metres Mfum-Ekok Bridge over the Cross River.

Nigeria’s Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) said the project was delivered according to the scheduled time.
“We have delivered. I can say with pride that our job has been done for the benefit of the people of Nigeria and Cameroun which the bridge connects,” he added.

“The most important thing about this project is that the bridge not only connects Nigeria and Cameroon but it begins a journey of a Trans-Africa connection. The Nigeria/Cameroon Multinational Highway from Enugu in Nigeria to Bamenda in Cameroun is also part of the Dakar-Lagos-Mombasa-Kenya Trans-African Highway and this is the significance of this project”, the minister added.

Emmanuel Addeh

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