Babatunde Raji Fashola, minister of works and housing, says the new double lane bridge on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon will facilitate free trade.
Fashola stated this on Monday while inspecting the newly constructed 1.5km two-lane bridge on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon in Ekot-Mfum, Etung LGA of Cross River.
The construction of the bridge started in 2017. It was completed in March 2021 at $35.9 billion and financed by both countries, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
In March 2007, Cameroon and Nigeria signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) seeking funds from the bank and other development partners to execute the road transport corridor.
Last month, the African Development Bank (AfDB) said Enugu-Cameroon corridor would be completed before the end of this year.
The projects were designed to strengthen trade and cooperation between the two countries.
Speaking at the inspection, Fashola 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.
”This is the first shoot of the harvest of completed projects proposed as the administration enters the second phase of the second term on its way out,” he said.
“We have 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.
“You can only expect that this will improve joint border patrol, ensure security, more efficiency which you see from the first buildings formed out of the integration of ECOWAS and sister nations of what the continent should look like.
“Nigeria is now a signatory to the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement. So this is infrastructure that positions both nations to take the benefit of the trade that the agreement holds.
“It is really exciting. Looking into the future you can only see more business, more trade, and employment meant for people.”
The minister described the bridge as a social asset that would bring happiness and prosperity for Nigerians.
“These are social assets, and we must understand that the recoupment is the happiness and the prosperity of the people of Nigeria,” he added.
“The prosperity of the people is the reason why President Muhammadu Buhari is pushing this infrastructure renewal.
“For as long as our people are happy, they can travel easily, they can reduce their journey, safe time on the road because if you save time you save money, and I am sure the President is delighted.”
Henry Etuk, Chairman, Etung local government, 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.