Happening Now: Abuja residents trapped, seek help as Dutse link bridges collapses amidst heavy downpour, flood

The residents of Obasanjo road community in Dutsen Sagbagyi II of Bwari Area Council, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), are crying for help and immediate intervention from FCT and Bwari Area Council authorities after three bridges connecting the community to the main road (Old Bwari road), collapsed and washed away by heavy flood caused by Monday heavy downpour.

Duste is a suburb located within the Bwari Area Council of FCT.

The rain which was still poring heavily as at the time of filling this report, started in the early hours of Monday and has resulted in the total and complete collapse of all the bridges on the only road which connects the community to other parts of Abuja.

As a result, residents, majority of the people that go to work and do businesses outside the community are left stranded, a situation that neither cars, motor cycle, nor legs could pass through the deep valleys/canals and the heavy flooding flowing through the open valleys.

Obasanjo road community, officially called Dutsen Sagbagyi II, is situated in a mountainous/hilly layout behind Dutse Baupma, off old Bwari road, off Dutse-Bwari Highway, in Bwari Area Council of FCT.

The community is comprised of five different layouts/settlements, which include Freedom avenue layout, Anglican street layout, Obasanjo road layout, Mountain side layout and new layout. 

These layouts are popularly and collectively called Obasanjo road, Dutse Sagbagyi II community.

According to residents, one striking attraction in this community is that it is a new community, which within a few years of its occupation, is known to be a well-planned settlement and well designed buildings, which makes it different from many that are characterised by haphazard building arrangement and disorderliness.

They said, “Since inception, residents of Obasanjo road community had shouldered the responsibility of the construction, repairs and maintenance of the major link road, putting and fortifying the bridges and opening up new roads.

“Also, the residents of community have been buying transformers and providing electricity for themselves and making private security arrangements, through communal efforts, which has made the community a reference point as far as rural planning, orderliness and peace as obtainable in a modern society, are concerned.

“Now, residents of the community find it hard to swallow the reality that a road and the bridges they had laboured to construct and constantly maintained, have now been destroyed completely by heavy flood. The residents are crying; they need the help of concerned Nigerians, both from the Government, organisations and individuals to come to thier aid. If nothing urgent is done, the residents would be cut off permanently from the outside world and every business and economic activities would have been completely and permanently grounded.

“Moreover, our children would not be able to go school when schools resumes in a matter of days.”

According to Mr. Ikechukwu, one of the residents who lives in the Community, “it is really disheartening seeing all our efforts and resources over the years completely washed away.”

Mr. Ikechukwu then appealed to appropriate authorities to come to their aid to construct and fix the bridges for the community, “as the community may not be able to find the construction of the bridges by the residents alone.

Also lamenting, another member of the community, Mr. Nicholas, who according to him, after receiving a phone call from a resident that a bridge has collapsed,  was on his way to see for himself and ascertain the extent of damage when he saw residents gathered in another bridge which was equally completely destroyed, that not even leg can pass through, let alone vehicles.

According to Mr. Nicholas, “We are saddened by this calamity that has befallen this hardworking people of Obasanjo road community. This is a collosal damage not only to the fabric of the only road linking and connecting the community to the outside world, but has paralyzed every form of economic and business activity in the community, moreso that no one can pass through anywhere the collapsed bridges to go to work.”

He furtherdecired a situation where all past appeals that have been made to relevant authorities to come to the aid of the community with respect to these bridges did not yield any positive results from the authorities.

Mr. Nicholas said, “the bridges have been begging for better and stronger action to fortify them against heavy rains such that happened last night. We, through the community representatives, i.e. the Exco had written to relevant authorities to come to our help, as the costs required to fortify the bridges against being washed away by heavy rains were beyond our power. Since then, no authority or organisation has done anything before the collapse of these bridges today.

“On behalf of the residents of this community, we join in inviting the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Federal Capital Development Authority and Bwari Area Council to come and see for themselves and urgently come to the aid of this community by re- constructing the bridges and the road, so that the residents will not be trapped permanently in their enclave.

“We also call upon corporate organisations and individuals, such as MTN, which has one of its communication mast in the community; Dangote Group, National Emergency Management Authority(NEMA), ULO group of companies, which has one of its quarry company in the community; World Bank projects, etc to come to the aid of the community.”

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