By Uche Amunike
The governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah, has reacted to the Enugu bridge collapse which occurred around the New Artisan Market area of the state, leaving several commuters stranded, as they were seen struggling to seek alternative routes to their various destinations.
As a result, Governor Mbah urged the federal government to concession federal roads to the states in order to ensure proper maintenance, even as he also called for a new road maintenance model, which will help ensure that Nigerian roads have better condition and longevity.
Speaking, during his visit to the site of the collapsed bridge, which happened between the new Artisan Flyover and the NNPC Mega Station, situated along the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, Governor Mbah reiterated that the concession was expedient due to the deplorable state of federal roads which the current road maintenance model had been unable to address.
Speaking, during his interaction with newsmen after the inspection of the scene of the Enugu bridge collapse, the governor thanked God that there was no life lost, even though the tragedy was of great magnitude. He called on the Tinubu-led government to collaborate with the private sector, so as to put the concession of all the federal roads in each state to the state governments under consideration, for better maintenance and to avoid such occurrences in the future.
His words: ‘I think the question should be whether the current model of federal road maintenance is working or not, and I think that is the bigger question that we must ask.’
‘Today, we are here witnessing a tragedy that has just occurred. Fortunately, no life was lost, but this could have been prevented entirely. So, the people can no longer ply this route because of this tragedy. This shows clearly that we do not have a sound federal road maintenance model.’
‘Perhaps the way to go is to find a way to concession these roads to the states. The states must take charge of the roads within their domains, and there must be a conversation around the funding models.’
In the meantime, the Enugu State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Gerard Otiji, has said in a statement signed and released by him, that commuters have been advised by the state government, to use Nza Street, through New Haven or the Ogui Road, as well as the Abakaliki Road routes, to their various destinations, while the authorities put all hands on deck to decide on what measures to be applied for immediate repair on the failed section of the Enugu bridge collapse.
Motorists have been advised by the State Government to avoid the area, as emergency crews have commenced work to clear the debris and assess the extent of damage. The reason for the Enugu bridge collapse is still under investigation and there has been no recorded cases of any casualties, so far.