The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Raji Fashola, says the collapsed bridge on Mokwa-Jebba road will be back in use within 72 hours. Fashola who spoke to newsmen in Zaria, Kaduna State, shortly after he paid homage to the Emir of Zazzau, Dr Shehu Idris, in his palace on Sunday.
The Minister had, before visiting the emir, inaugurated a new 60MVA/132/KV transformer to improve electricity supply in the city and its environs. He explained that the ministry had deployed personnel from relevant agencies to provide measures that would ease traffic on the collapsed bridge at Mowo Junction, along Makwa-Jebba road for motorists within the next 72 hours.
The Federal Road Safety Corps had on Sunday morning alerted motorists of the collapse of the bridge after Mowo Junction on the Mokwa-Jebba road, due to heavy rainfall.
The Agency had said the bridge, which is 18 kilometres from Mokwa town in Niger State, caved-in, following a downpour which affected vehicular movement on both sides of the road. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Mokwa-Jebba road is a major transit route for travelers between Abuja and Ilorin.
Fashola attributed the bridge’s collapse to “the hazards that come with weather changes.
“All over the world we see them, mudslide, hurricane, volcano, windstorm, damaging public infrastructure. So, Nigeria is not exempted.
“We know this will cause some discomfort to commuters, for which we apologise for. It is an emergency and we are treating it as such. We are responding.
“A year ago, I think also on the 10th of June, Tatabu bridge also collapsed as a result of rising water level and heavy rainfall and we responded.
“We have fixed and reconstructed a new bridge, which is bigger and better. We will do the same thing in Mokwa,” the Minister said
The minister said the ministry had gained some experience in dealing with such situations.
“From our contractors to our staff, we know what to do and by the time I got aware of it early this morning, all our staff have started responding.
“It is very encouraging to me that we have built a team and a system that works.
“We have given instruction to our Director in charge of North Central zone to move to the place and work with the Controllers in Niger and Kwara states
“We have also given instruction to the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Corps Marshal is on top of that, helping to manage the traffic on the Federal High way and divert traffic, especially heavy-duty trucks carrying fuel, food items to North and South through that road.
“There would be discomfort without a doubt, but we will manage it and make it better day by day and in a couple of days, it should be better, the minister said.
He said the ministry had also contacted the leadership of NUPENG and Tanker Drivers to explain to their members what has happened and what the ministry was doing.
“Within the next 72 hours, I am sure, we will bring some stability and control to the place.
“The Zonal Director had our mandate to brief headquarters every 12 hours on what is going on, so that we can measure progress. So, there is nothing to panic about.
“This is an incident that has happened as a result of forces of nature. Rainfall destroys our infrastructure, but it is also a blessing to our farmers and fishermen,” he said.