The 1.5km Nigerian-Cameroon double lane bridge linking the two countries from Ekot-Mfum, Etung Local Government Area of Cross River state is set to boost trade, the Federal Government of Nigeria has disclosed.
According to the Minister of Works and Housing Mr Babatunde Fashola the bridge, which is being funded by both countries will also strengthen ties and improve security.
Memorandum of understanding
The two countries had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) seeking funds from the bank and other development partners to execute the road transport corridor.
The minister who spoke on Monday said the bridge is the first shoot of the harvest of completed projects proposed as the President Muhammadu Buhari administration enters the second phase of the second term on its way out.
Fashola also shared some pictures of the completed bridge.
Trade and business
He further pointed out that Nigeria has had a strong relationship with the Republic of Cameroon in terms of trade and business.
“If you go to Aba, Enugu, and Abakaliki for example, I can tell you that they are on the route that facilitates trade in agro-produce, merchandise, and manufactured goods from Aba in Abia state,”said Fashola.
He added that the project will improve joint border patrol, ensure security, more efficiency as seen from the first buildings formed out of the integration of ECOWAS and sister nations of what the continent should look like.
Since Nigeria is now a signatory to the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, Fashola noted that the bridge is an infrastructure that positions both nations to take the benefit of the trade that agreement holds.
“It is really exciting. Looking into the future you can only see more business, more trade, and employment meant for people,” Fashola said.
Prosperity and happiness of people
He added that another point of the bridge is for the prosperity and happiness of people, citing that “as long as our people are happy, they can travel easily, they can reduce their journey, save time on the road because if you save time you save money.”
On revenue generation, the minister stated that the bridge was a social asset and that the happiness and prosperity of Nigerians were “enough payment.”
Better trade among the people
Mr Henry Etuk, Chairman, Etung Local Government Area said the people are pleased with what the Federal Government had done.
Etuk reiterated that the new bridge would bring about better trade among the people of Nigeria and Cameroon.
He said that the ease of movement and trade would go a long way to improve relationships and foster development in the area.
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The bridge construction began on April 28, 2017, and ended in March 2021, costing $35.9 billion.
African Development Bank (AfDB) had earlier stated that the $430 million highway connecting the South East region of Nigeria from Enugu to Bamenda, in Cameroon will be finished before the end of the year.
The projects were designed to strengthen trade and cooperation between the two countries.
Fashola who spoke while on the inspection of the project on Monday added that the current administration plans to renew and expand old infrastructure that would take the two countries to the future for many more decades and strengthen the relationship between them.