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HURIWA Carpets Nigeria Government for Planned Tolling of Second Niger Bridge

It says the bridge is being built with taxpayers’ funds in the form of recovered Abacha and Ibori loots.

A civil rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has carpeted the federal government over its planned tolling of the almost completed 1.6 kilometers long Second Niger Bridge which links Anambra and Delta States.
According to the group, the federal government cannot collect toll on the bridge because it is being built with taxpayers’ fund returned in the form of loots recovered from former Nigerian military leader, General Sani Abacha and former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori.
In a statement on Thursday, HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said tolling the bridge, which is about to be the only road with toll gate in the whole country, would be an injustice to all Nigerians plying through the route.
HURIWA argued that the returned $332.4 million Abacha loot from the United States and the £4.2 million Ibori loot paid to the federal government of Nigeria by the United Kingdom were the stolen commonwealth of all Nigerians which should be used on essential infrastructure for the betterment of the entire country.
Therefore, “it is unacceptable that the Second Niger Bridge will be tolled upon its completion after decade-long stalemate on the project,” it stated.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola had on Channels Television on Wednesday, said the temporarily opened Second Niger Bridge would be tolled with the same model as the Lekki toll gate in Lagos.
The Bridge was opened to traffic from December 15, 2022, to January 15, 2023, to ease the experience of travellers during the Yuletide before the final delivery date of May 2023.
Continuing, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The bombshell released by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola that the Second Niger Bridge will be tolled is totally unacceptable and a betrayal by the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“It is on record that the Buhari regime pledged to use the $332.4 million recovered Abacha loot and the £4.2 million returned Ibori loot to fund the construction of the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos–Ibadan and Abuja–Kano Expressways to benefit the citizens of each of these important regions.
“The UK and the US especially ensured that the Nigerian Government commit its agreement to use the two recovered loots for infrastructure development as administered by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority.
“HURIWA, therefore, finds it traitorous and preposterous that the Buhari regime will turn around to plan the tolling of the Second Niger Bridge.”
While describing the government’s decision as totally unacceptable, he argued that Nigerians should for once should enjoy their stolen taxes and resources returned in the forms of Abacha and Ibori loots.

HURIWA called on all Nigerians to resist the planned tolling of the Second Niger Bridge which is the only federally built bridge that would be tolled.”