NIGERIA has opened 1 1.5km bridge linking Etung Local Government Area in Cross River State with neighbouring Cameroon as part of a programme to enhance trade and boost commerce between the two countries.
Commissioned by works and housing minister Babatunde Fashola, the road which starts in the town of Ekot-Mfum, is double lane. Construction of the bridge began on April 28, 2017 and was completed in March 2021 at the cost of $35.9bn, with funding provided by both countries.
According to Mr Fashola, the construction of the bridge will also strengthen relations between both countries and improve cross-border security. He added that the Buhari administration’s plan to renew and expand old infrastructure would take the two countries to the future for many more decades and strengthen the relationship between them.
Mr Fashola added: “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. 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 Economic Community of West African States (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 agreement holds. It is really exciting and looking into the future, you can only see more business, more trade, and employment meant for people.”
Henry Etuk, the chairman of Etung Local Government Area said the people are pleased with what the federal government had done. He reiterated that the new bridge would bring about better trade among the people of Nigeria and Cameroon, adding that the ease of movement and trade would go a long way to improving relationships and fostering development in the area.