‘YOMI AYELESO reports the agony and deadly risks that travellers passing through the Efon-Itawure-Erio-Aramoko Ekiti road face daily following the collapse of the bridge along the busy highway in Erio-Ekiti.
Many travellers from Ibadan, Ilesha, Ile-Ife pass through the Efon-Itawure- Aramoko enroute Ado-Ekiti, which is the Ekiti state capital. But in the last one week, the journey has been the toughest and deadly one as a result of the collapsed bridge in Erio-Ekiti which cut off more than half of the road.
When Nigerian Tribune visited the area, it was observed that many travellers coming into the state capital through the Efon- Aramako axis and those going in the opposite direction were having tough times navigating their way across the remaining part of the road. Vehicles such as heavy duty trucks were seen stuck and others which cannot maneuver through the dangerous part, were parked and abandoned along the road.
Travellers with the fear that the remaining part of the bridge might collapse with much pressure were seen disembarking from their respective vehicles from a distance and trekking across to the other side to later join their car in continuation of their journey.
Not only the commuters are suffering from the bad situation of the road, residents of Erio-Ekiti and other adjoining communities such as Aramoko, Itawure and Efon are lamenting over the collapsed bridge. Pupils, civil servants and corps members in the communities are mostly affected as most commercial drivers have stopped plying the routes, making it difficult for them to access their respective offices and schools.
It was gathered that the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has approved a sum of N19 million for a palliative work to be carried out on the collapsed portion.
Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, a resident of Erio-Ekiti, 35-year-old Mr. Gbenga Johnson, revealed that the situation of the collapsed bridge has affected commercial activities in and around the communities. He said most vehicles, in the last one week, were not coming through the route as a result of the collapse of the major part of the road.
According to him, there had been no sign that government was aware of their plight over the situation of the road or that anything would be done about the situation soon.
He said: “We are really facing a tough time here since last week when the major part of this road collapsed. This is a very busy road, as you are aware, because people coming from Ibadan, Ilesha, Ile-Ife and others, to Ado-Ekiti will pass through this place, you should know the bulk of traffic here.
“Our people that sell items along the road are lamenting now because most travellers don’t even ply this road now with the fear that the remaining part might collapse very soon, if no urgent measure is taken. We can only beg government to come to our aid, this road is very crucial to the state and also the country at large.”
To Mr. Segun Ajibola, who is a commercial driver from Ilesha in Osun State, travelling across the Efon-Itawure-Erio-Aramoko road to Ado-Ekiti is a risk he will not want to take until the situation improves along the road.
“Had it been I know that this road has been cut off this way, I will not even bother to leave Ilesha coming to Ado-Ekiti. Looking at it now, it will not be long when this small place we are passing now will be cut off also because I want to believe that the bridge is weak. You know this place has been here for years and if government had maintained some of these things, it would not have degenerated into this unfortunate situation.
“ My life and that of the passengers are very important and it will be unwise of me to endanger their lives coming to this place from Ilesha. I won’t bring any passenger here because who knows when the remaining portion will collapse?
“Government must show more commitment to the plight of its citizens and help rehabilitate some of these roads, not even here alone. Our roads are in a very bad state and I heard that some persons are saying these situations are not as bad as being portrayed. This is an eyesore and everybody can see it now.”
Another resident, who identified herself as Mrs Tosin Rebecca, pointed out that youths in the community have volunteered to help in controlling traffic so as to avoid accident, especially at night.
She said, “many drivers coming through this place are facing difficult times and if not because of our youths that are here controlling traffic, many vehicles would have fallen inside this place. Two vehicles cannot pass at a time now, we have to stop vehicles from one side and allow others to cross before they will move.”
Worried by the dangerous situation of the road following the collapsed portion of the bridge, the House of Representatives Committee on Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) visited the scene at the weekend. Honourable Femi Bamisile who on behalf the committee visited the area, said complete rehabilitation, not palliative measures, must be carried out on the collapsed portion.
“Temporary measures can’t work on this collapsed portion. We need to divert the road and do a thorough job here, because this road was built on old small culvert. It is quite unfortunate that our federal roads are like this and if you look well, this road is gradually cutting off. Three quarter of the road has been cut off and it is unacceptable,” he said.
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