Not too long ago, a very important bridge connecting Wase and Langtang local government areas of Plateau state collapsed. In this piece, MUHAMMAD TANKO SHITTU writes on people’s plight.
Infrastructure development, being a key factor in all facet of human and capital development, is a thing that can never be neglected. Just recently, a very important bridge linking Wase-Langtang and other local government areas within Plateau state and parts of Taraba seems to have been badly neglected until its recent collapse thereby disconnecting residents and their socio economic and other human endeavours from flourishing.
This attracted the attention of Wase Emirate Council, the state government as well as legislators representing Wase both at the state and national levels.
The collapsed bridge
The trunk ‘A’ single carriage bridge, being a construction of colonial rulership in Nigeria, has for some decades became obsolete with glaring signs of inevitable collapsed thereby posing a great threat to the people using it, until Wednesday 24, June 2020 when it finally went down. Luckily, it was devoid of any havoc on human beings.
Wase is an agrarian locality endowed with solid mineral resources, connected with Langtang North LGA through the bridge hitherto used by farmers, miners and traders to use but its collapsed has put people in a despicable situation. According to a high profile traditional ruler, the Wazirin Wase, Alhaji Muhammad Badamasi Mahmud, he lamented that the collapse would inflict more hardship on the people of Wase and others.
“It is a federal road that links so many local governments within Plateau up to Taraba and even Nasawara states. It is the only bridge that eases movement of farm inputs and all other important economic and social activities, but today it is no more.”
The Wazirin Wase said the bridge was built by colonialists and has dilapidated with the fear of collapsing as the condition has been there for about 30 years, with previous and present administrations all aware of the situation.
“I am on behalf of our people calling on all relevant authorities to urgently come to our aid,” he pleaded.
Similarly, a day after the bridged collapsed, the member representing Wase in the state House of Assembly, Honourable, Adamu Yahaya Mavo, raised concern that attracted comments leading to the House’ resolution to summon the commissioner for works, his permanent secretary and officials of the state road maintenance agency to appear before it.
Mavo said the bridge links five other local government areas and people from other localities pass through it to go to farm in Wase. “Now that it has collapsed, getting farm produce would face serious problem.”
According to him, previous governments have not paid attention to the dilapidating situation of the bridge, which he noted that he had once personally worked on it, but admitted that the job was beyond his ability.
Supporting the motion, member representing Langtang North Constituency, Hon Daniel Listic, said the bridge besides serving the people economically, its collapse has also added to the suffering of Wase people on health ground.
“They use the bridge to reach Langtang General Hospital whenever there is illness,” he said.
But Hon Daniel Dantong (PDP), accused the Lalong administration of neglecting the people by not paying attention to infrastructure development across the state.
“The rescue administration should wake up in addressing the issue of infrastructure in the state,” he said.
The House speaker, Hon Abok Ayuba, said the matter is urgent to warrant the invitation of the commissioner and other officials.
Governor Lalong inspects the bridge
Concerned by the devastating consequences which the collapsed has on the people, Governor Simon Lalong on 30th June 2020 undertook an on-the-spot assessment of the bridge, where he reassured the people that the state government would not neglect them.
“Although this is a federal road, we have to immediately intervene in order to ameliorate the suffering of the people since this road is a major commercial corridor in this area. This is one of the roads that I submitted to the president for federal intervention which has been approved. “I will soon be in Abuja to intimate him on this development so that the bridge can be rebuilt immediately.”
However, having in mind the significance of the bridge, Lalong, said his administration would not wait than to provide interim alternative. He instantly ordered the Ministry of Water Resources and Energy to provide boats that would ferry people across the river while intermediate work is being carried out.
The governor’s concern was extended to another bridge that was partially damaged at Duankwam, linking Shendam and Garkawa and a reconstruction of Shendam-Ibi federal road where he tasked the contractor to increase the tempo of work in order to cover lost time due to COVID-19.
An Emir’s plead
The Emir of Wase, Alhaji Muhammadu Haruna Sambo, reechoed to Governor Lalong, that the collapsed bridge is affecting economic activities. He also appealed to the governor to impress on the federal government to expedite action on rehabilitation of the entire road as well as the bridge in order to save his people from economic deprivation.
Importantly, he appreciated Lalong for his doggedness towards ensuring the discovery and exploration of oil and gas within the Wase and Kanam areas as announced by the NNPC recently.
Deputy speaker raises concern
That the bridge is situated at Wase, the local government of Hon Ahmad Idris Wase, the deputy speaker House of Representatives, he deemed it necessary to also propel forward the needed urgent attention.
Hon Wase raised his concern on July 2 2020 during plenary, through a motion on “The Need fir Urgent Intervention in the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of the Collapsed Bridges along Wase–Langtang Road in Plateau state.”
According to him, his urge is for the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to carry out emergency maintenance on Wase–Langtang road, reconstruct the collapsed bridge and rehabilitate the dilapidated one. Also for the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to expedite action on the construction of the undermentioned roads captured in the 2020 Appropriation Act which are directly linked to Wase–Langtang road due to their strategic linkages with viable economic, mining and oil exploration centres.
He further urged the Nigerian Army Disaster Response Unit to undertake emergency construction and installation of bailey bridges to facilitate the movement of persons cut off by the collapsed Jigawan Audu/Kogin Kasa bridge along Wase–Langtang road and further urged the National Emergency Management Agency to provide necessary relief materials for communities displaced by the collapsed bridge.
“Mandate the committees on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Works, Army, Emergency and Disaster Preparedness (EDP) and Legislative Compliance to monitor the implementation of the resolutions and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action,” Wase said.
It is obvious that there are preponderance of similar problems and concerns across the state, with specific mention of the Jos-Kaduna-Kano road networks in absolute state of disrepair.
Now that Hon Wase and his people have raised concerned over the total collapse of the bridge and the plight other people face on the roads, expectations are now turned to the agencies responsible for refixing the bridge and others, as assured by the federal controller of works in the state, Engr Usman Magin.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.