Ekiti Residents on Wednesday, January 22, have worried over delays by the federal government in reconstructing the Ureje Bridge located along Ado Ekiti – Ikare road, four months after it collapsed.
Residents of the Ureje area expressed displeasure over the perceived abandonment of the project, in spite of the dangerous state of the bridge and assurances given by the Minister of Works, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola that the reconstruction will be done before the beginning of the rainy season.
Recall that the bridge had collapsed in 2019 following persistent flooding caused by torrential rainfalls.
The bridge had nearly collapsed before the government put up palliative measures to aid motorists pending reconstruction.
The bridge located along Ado-Ijan-Ikare road connects the capital city with Afe Babalola University and the Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti.
Expressing disapproval over the delay, some of the residents, who spoke under anonymity, said: “we are worried that what happened last year will repeat itself on this bridge, this year.
“Four months after the flooding, which destroyed many homes, properties and killed a man, nothing has been done. We expected the government to be at the completion stage rather than telling us they have just got approval for its reconstruction”, he stated.
However, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Hon. Femi Bamisile, said he had advised the federal government to undertake the ecological problem around the bridge before embarking on its reconstruction.
Bamisile, representing Ekiti South Federal Constituency II, said the contractor which the project was awarded to, lacked the capacity to undertake such a high tasking job.
Femi also urged the Minister of Works to look into the quality of contractors to prevent execution of shoddy jobs.
“The flood that had persisted on the bridge will continue if reconstructed without taking care of the ecological problem in the area. The source of the water must be controlled through proper channelisation process for the job to be well done.
“As the chairman of FERMA in the House and also a member of the Ecological Fund Committee, I have met with the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund, Dr. Lawal Abibat and she had promised to work on ecological funds due for Ekiti this January.
“I let her realise that Ekiti has not benefited from the Ecological Fund for the past five to six years. But with the coming of Governor Kayode Fayemi, ecological funds worth over N700 million will be undertaken at Oye and Aramoko Ekiti, while Ureje will also benefit when the money is eventually released, he assured.
Bamisile added that the collapsed Erio bridge on Aramoko-Efon-Ijebu -Ijesa road, which caved in last year November, would be reopened by the first week of February.
“FERMA and the state government did a thorough job on the bridge. We didn’t do palliative work, but a job that can stand the test of time.
“Though, the FRRMA did the work for the federal government, the state government provided the alternative road being used by commuters pending the time it will be reopened”, he disclosed.