The Senate on Wednesday summoned the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), to brief the works committee on his ministry’s action plan for the reconstruction of all collapsing bridges across the nation.
The upper chamber also mandated the Ministry of Works to undertake an inventory of all bailey bridges nationwide and report their status to the Senate within four weeks.
The senate specifically asked the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency to urgently re-construct the bailey bridges across Ebenyi River at Ikem inthe Isi Uzo Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The resolutions followed a motion by Senator Gilbert Nnaji (Enugu East), who lamented the existence of bailey bridges which he said were built between the second World War and post-civil war eras to serve as temporary platforms for human and vehicle crossing.
Nnaji said such bridges were found across the nation and were built with pre-fabricated metal truss but had either “caved in or collapse due to age and pressure thereby causing untold hardship to commuters, motorists and other road users.”
Nnaji further said it was disturbing that commuters, motorists and other roads users in areas where the bridges collapse often go through tough times “as they have to terminate their journeys at different ends of the river and then cross over to the other end to continue their journeys.”
Nnaji recalled the recent collapse of the bailey bridge across Ebenyi River on November 6, lamenting that such developments often result in loss of lives as well as economic deprivation for affected people.
He said, “The attendant loss of lives and livelihoods as well as other forms of economic deprivation and losses are avoidable if proactive steps were taken from time to time either to maintain or to reconstruct such bridges.”
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, noted that some of the bridges were so small that they don’t necessarily require the intervention of the Federal Government because they could be handled by both local and state governments.
Meanwhile, a bill seeking for Administrative and Political Structure for the six Area councils of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, and other related matters, passed second reading at the senate on Wednesday.