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Poly workers, others protest over collapsed Ureje bridge

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Members of staff and students of the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, as well as the residents of the capital city, yesterday protested over continued neglect of the collapsed Ureje Bridge, which they described as a death trap.

There was a long queue of vehicles along the lines, with many civil servants forced to return home while members of staff of Afe Babalola University (ABU) and civil servants living along that axis were trapped for hours.

The protesters, under different unions, such as the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics (SSANP) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (NASUP), urged the National Assembly to compel the Minister of Works, Babatunde Raji Fashola, to begin work on the abandoned bridge.

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They chided the Federal Government for delaying action on the reconstruction of the bridge that collapsed last year due to persistent flooding and waiting for another raining season to commence without any concrete action.

The ASUP Chairman, Dr. Bisi Olasehinde, said: “We want to say without mincing words that if the Federal Government fails to promptly heed to our call, we would have no choice than to relocate our offices to Ureje Bridge.

“Further, we will protest to the National Assembly for the sack of the Works Minister if the Federal Government fails to accede to our request.

“We are here to inform the whole world and remind Nigerians that during the last raining season, Ureje Bridge claimed lives and destroyed property worth millions of naira and caused serious havoc to students and members of staff of the polytechnic and the university in particular and other users of this road.

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“We equally want to inform you that Afe Babalola University and the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, that are located on this road have been solely responsible for the maintenance of the road and the old Ureje Bridge since 2010.

“The condition of Ureje Bridge got to a head during the last year raining season when it caved in, killing two people in the process. The collapse of the bridge led to the disruption of business for thousands of people, members of staff of Afe Babalola University and Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, motorists, transporters and those who had their means of livelihood along that stretch of the road are often held up in traffic for several hours.”

The workers, therefore, urged the Federal Government to declare the road as a death trap and pleaded with President Buhari to mandate the Minister of Works to immediately commence the reconstruction of the bridge.

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