From ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja
Senate has urged the Federal Government and the Ministry of Works to repair the Niger Bridge, Onitsha and the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos immediately, to avert their imminent collapse. The decision came after lawmakers considered two separate motions brought by Senators Gbenga Ashafa and Hope Uzodima on the state of the two bridges.
Presenting his motion, Ashafa, (ACN, Lagos) said there had been complaints of shifting and unusual vibrations on the Third Mainland Bridge by commuters. According to him, the report produced by a company experienced in underwater surveys indicated that the underwater metal casing housing the concrete piles on which the bridge stands, have rusted and this accounts for the vibration of the bridge. “Prof. JHT Kim, Head of the Concrete Structural Engineering Labouratory, Yousei University, Seoul Korea, came on research in December, 2012 and conducted an underwater examination of the structures holding the bridge and reported that the dames to the structure were worse than what he had been briefed,”Ashafa said.
Thereafter, Senate urged its Works Committee to liaise with the ministry to find an urgent solution to the problem. It also “urged the Federal Government to carry out inspection on all over-water bridges in Nigeria to save them from further deterioration and collapse.”
On the Niger Bridge, the Senate urged the ministry to undertake immediate reinforcement, repairs and rehabilitation to avoid the tragic consequences of its possible collapse. The Upper Chamber urged the “Federal Ministry of Works to take immediate action to commence work on the Second Niger Bridge project before the end of this quarter.” Sponsor of the motion, Senator Uzodinma, (PDP, Imo State), noted that the bridge is in a horrifying state of decay with the imminent threat of collapse sooner than later.
“Because of the aforesaid state of the bridge, commuters have since the Christmas season, been subjected to excruciating ordeals wherein only single lanes are allowed on the bridge at a time for fear that the normal double lane carriage could lead to an instant collapse of the bridge, consequently, endless traffic across the bridge from all parts of the country.”
He said that the evidently weak and collapsing Niger Bridge may cave in suddenly without any further notice which could result to a major national catastrophe. Senate President David Mark noted that the two bridges should not be allowed to collapse and called for urgent measures to stem their deterioration.