4 Things No One Has Ever Told You About The Niger Bridge
The river Niger bridge in Onitsha is so popular because it connects Southeast Nigeria to Southwest Nigeria.
Without that bridge, many Igbos won’t be in Southwest Nigeria today.
History books said it was Scottish explorer, Mungo Park, who discovered the river Niger upon which the bridge was built but that is a big lie.
The river has been there long before the white folks graced the shores of eastern Nigeria.
So, here are 4 quick facts about Niger Bridge which you may never have known before now.
1. The Bridge Was Built By A French Construction Firm: Perhaps at the time, Julius Berger hadn’t become as prominent as it is today.
So, it was a French construction giant, Dumez, that constructed the Niger Bridge between 1964 and 1965, to link Onitsha and Asaba in present-day Anambra and Delta States.
2. The Bridge Cost Less Than $10 Million To Build: At the time that the bridge was completed in 1965, it cost at an estimated £6.75 million, about 8.9 million dollars.
This is about 3.2 billion naira in today’s value.
3. The Commissioning Of The Bridge Was Tafawa Balewa’s Last Public Function: After its completion, the bridge was commissioned by the then Prime Minister late Tafawa Balewa and opened for traffic in December 1965.
The commissioning of the bridge was the last public function of the Prime Minister before his assassination on January 15, 1966 military coup.
4. The Bridge Was Destroyed During The Biafran War: According to Wikipedia, during the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 - 1970, in an attempt to halt the Nigerian military advance, retreating Biafran soldiers destroyed the River Niger Bridge at Onitsha, trapping the Nigerians on the other side of the river.
During President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan administration, the bridge was rehabilitated by replacing two spans on the Onitsha end of the Bridge that was damaged during the civil war with a fourteen-foot wide bailey.
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