Ureje Bridge: Afe Babalola, deputy governor task contractor on alternative route
Legal icon, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi and the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe, yesterday, tasked the contractor handling collapsed Ureje Bridge in Ado Ekiti to provide an alternative route for residents.
This was just as the timely intervention of Babalola prevented some residents from disrupting the bridge’s construction situated along Ado-Ijan-Ikare Road yesterday.
The restive residents, including drivers and Okada riders plying the route, market men and women and other road users, had planned a protest for Saturday against the contractor over total closure of the road, which had cut off their means of livelihood since the project began a week ago.
A section of the bridge had last year collapsed due to flooding, which led to the death of a man while some property in the area also got damaged.
Addressing the contractor and residents of Ureje area yesterday, Babalola, chided the Federal Government for starting the project late and urged residents to endure the pains in the interest of the generality of the people. Also present at the briefing were the Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi and the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe.
Babalola noted that the project and the closure of Ado-Ijan-Ikare road had disrupted the day-to-day activities at Afe Babalola University (ABUAD) and the Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti, among other areas that were adversely affected by the closure.
He said: “This road was constructed over 90 years ago, it was a very narrow road. It is the only road that links Lagos to Lokoja and to Abuja. It was constructed by the Royal Niger Company, but unfortunately, it has been neglected since.
“Since I started my university eleven years ago, I have been maintaining it. I have written several petitions to the Federal Government. I thought they would do their repair during the dry season. Now, ABUAD community and many other areas of Ado Ekiti have been cut off. I expected that they would have done the repair earlier.”
Babalola regretted that Ekiti is the most neglected state in Nigeria, with no visible federal owned infrastructure that can boost the economy.
“If you look around, no seaport, no rail lines and the roads are just too bad. Ikare- Ado, Ado- Otun, Ado -Efon, Ado-Akure roads are all in bad shapes. I don’t know the crime we have committed to warrant this neglect.
“Some people came to report to me that they will disrupt this project and open up the road forcefully. But I beg the road users to endure this situation. But if the contractor fails to do the right thing, then we will take them up,” he stated.
Also speaking, the state Deputy Governor directed the contractor to quickly provide an alternative road to prevent the people from venting their anger on them.
Oba Adejugbe, appreciated the Federal Government for attending to the bridge but observed that the construction commenced so late.