Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Enugu State House of Representatives caucus led by Hon. Nnoli Nnaji, member representing Nkanu East/ West Federal Constituency, has urged the Federal Government to take urgent steps in salvaging the decaying state of roads in the South-East zone by declaring a state of emergency on infrastructure in the region.
The caucus also appealed to the Federal Government to hasten the reconstruction of the collapsed bridge along Enugu/ Port harcourt Expressway in Enugu State.
The members made the call after visiting the scene of the collapsed bridge at the new artisan section of the Enugu/Port Harcourt Expressway in Enugu.
Nnaji expressed concern about the hardships that the people and travellers in the state had been facing since the collapse of the bridge last Monday.
The lawmaker said it was only the urgent intervention by the Federal Government in collaboration with the state government that could remedy the ugly situation.
He pointed out that the road was important to the people of the South-East and South-South as it connected Enugu, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa and Rivers states.
Nnaji said he had spoken to the Chairman, House Committee on Works, on the development adding that he was aware that Gov. Peter Mbah had contacted the Minister of Works, Sen. Dave Umahi on the incident.
According to him, the development was of national urgent importance that the caucus would raise on the floor of the house when they resume sitting on Tuesday.
“The matter has been communicated to the presidency and we are so concerned about the development considering the aggressive infrastructure being carried out by Enugu State Government.
“We are going to tackle the challenge now that we have seen it and observed it.
“Possibly from a layman’s view, the influence from where they are doing abattoir that eat up the soil apparently led to shift of the foundation of the bridge. But engineers will tell us more,” he said.
He stated that people coming from Abuja ply through the road, noting that the site of the incident was the starting point of Enugu/ Port Harcourt Expressway.
“The road was built in the 1970s and I also believe this is an opportunity for us to do integrity test on all the bridges and flyovers that were built long time ago.
The lawmaker appealed to the people of the state, especially road users, for patience, assuring them that they would do everything within their powers to ensure that the bridge was fixed in record time.
“So, we are going to escalate this issue beyond what you think at the floor of the House and to the Federal Government to come to our aid and reconstruct this bridge as it is affecting businesses, development and many other projects in Enugu State,” he said.
Other house members on the visit were Mr Stainless Nwodo, representing Igboetiti/ Uzouwani Federal Constituency, Mr Chimaobi Atu, (Enugu North and South) and Mr Obi Aguocha, (Ikwuano/Umuahia North and South Federal Constituency).
Nnaji, who is the Chairman House of Reps Committee on Ports and Harbours, said they visited Enugu to inspect and see things for themselves.
Also speaking, Aguocha said he accompanied them to support them when the matter came at the floor of the house, adding that Enugu was the capital of Igboland.
He said, “As such, anything that happens to Enugu happen to everybody in Igboland and the collapse is causing a lot of stress to Nigerians plying the road.”