- A group has raised the alarm that the first Niger Bridge is at risk of collapsing
- According to the group, the current bridge connecting the southeast to the southwest was being overloaded
- The group, Ochie Igbo, however, stated that work on the second Niger Bridge was proceeding at an impressive rate
A socio-political group of young Igbo professionals, Ochie Igbo, has raised the alarm that the first Niger Bridge is at risk of collapsing.
The group lamented that while work on the second Niger Bridge was proceeding at an impressive rate, the current bridge connecting the southeast to the southwest was being overloaded.
President-general of Ochie Igbo, Dr. Chuks Orji, raised the alarm when he spoke to journalists after a visit to the traffic snarl around Onitsha, the commercial capital of Anambra state.
Orji accused the Delta state command of the Nigeria Police Force of imposing undue stress on the old bridge, raising a checkpoint at the foot of the bridge, causing vehicles, especially articulated and haulage trucks, to spend much time on the bridge.
His words: “It has become increasingly worrisome that cars and other heavy vehicles are made to park on top of the Onitsha Bridge for hours.
“This is of grave concern, because a closer look at the warning pasted on the bridge by certified engineers, says cars and vehicles shouldn’t be allowed to park on the bridge for hours.”
He regretted that the cautionary post engraved by the construction firm on beams of the bridge “has been thrown to the wind by police officers of the Delta command that stand at the gate to waylay commuters for reasons best known to them.”
He urged the Delta state commissioner of police to call his men to order, to avert the monumental security and socio-economic crisis a sudden collapse of the bridge could cause the nation.
He also enjoined men of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) manning the Onitsha end of the bridge to enforce the ‘no parking’ rule at the neck of the bridge, especially by commercial bus drivers dropping off passengers.
Meanwhile, Delta state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the federal government to re-assess all roads constructed over 20 years ago with a view to reconstructing failed ones.
He made the call on Sunday, September 22 while inspecting ongoing work on failed portions of Warri-Benin highway being reconstructed by the state government.
The governor said that many federal roads across the country were ageing, advising the federal government should do a total reassessment of such roads and intervene promptly.
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