…Mbah commends FG’s prompt response
The Minister of Works, Engr. Dave Umahi, has assured of immediate reconstruction of the bridge between the New Artisan flyover and the Naira Triangle, at the Enugu end of the Enugu – Port Harcourt expressway, starting with the collapsed one.
Umahi, who blamed the bridge’s collapse on eroded abutment and age, having been constructed in 1978, also commended Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State for undertaking to dualise the Enugu State part of the Enugu-Abakaliki road, saying the governor had shown leadership in ameliorating the plights of his people.
Umahi spoke when he inspected the collapsed bridge in company with Governor Mbah Thursday evening.
“This bridge that collapsed has gone viral. A lot of people have been sending the pictures to me and have been calling. Also, you never allowed me to rest since you said I must come and see it. When you have a leader, who is committed to what leadership of a people should be, he must get support. That is why I decided I must come so that I will brief the president.
“I am also very sure that when they see the two of us together, they will find out that the president is a man that listens.
“Yesterday, I sent the man in charge of bridge design and construction and also the Director of Federal Ministry of Works in charge of the South East. They came and carried out their review.
“What has happened here is very unfortunate. I have read the report of my men, and I have also read the report you sent to us, and the pictures, and the two reports are the same. The piles were exposed because besides the abutment, this bridge was built in 1978.
“We are going to look at the second bridge and see how far remedial work could be done on it and see if we can use it while we do everything to demolish this one and start the reconstruction. And we are going to scale up the reconstruction of the two bridges alongside the road that is going on.
“I want to assure you that we will do that and I have directed the contractors to do everything to provide alternative road in addition to the several routes that you have also provided”, the minister said.
On the governor’s plan to reconstruct and dualise the Enugu – Abakaliki road, Umahi assured that the federal government would expedite the necessary approvals.
“Let me also use this opportunity to thank you for your initiative in constructing a dualised road between Enugu and the Ebonyi boundary. It is a very wonderful initiative.
“We have gotten your letter and I have also sent my men to come and evaluate it. I can assure you that within the next seven days, you must hear from us. We are reviewing the drawing. We will also give you our standard and bill of quantities”, he said.
He also commended Mbah’s suggestion on getting states involved in federal road maintenance, saying it showed the private sector mentality the governor had brought to bear on governance.
“I am happy that when you visited here, you proposed that the federal government should involve state governments in Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI).
“I am happy that you came from the private sector. There is a very serious high hope by the steps you have rolled out. They are in tandem with Mr President’s steps and I pledge to support him very seriously and I pledge to support you. There must be a change. We must reset the country”, he concluded.
Speaking, Governor Mbah thanked the federal government for the prompt response, saying it was a mark of inclusive leadership on the part of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“As you already know, I promptly visited the scene immediately this happened. This is a major gateway. So, we cried out to the federal government to say that we need to do something expeditiously. And here we are today; within 48 hours, the minister is right here with us to carry out an inspection, proffering solution on how we can at least get one section of the bridge moving.
“He also has the contractors here with him. They want to immediately swing into action.
“So, we are truly pleased with the action taken so far by the minister and indeed the president. This, for us, underscores the president’s commitment to his oath of office. He committed to lead with compassion. He also committed to run an inclusive government”, Mbah stated.