From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The downpour of Tuesday, June 20, 2017, that wreaked havoc in Ibadan, Oyo State, had come and gone. But the destruction of infrastructure it left behind would surely take some time to be fixed.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), reported that the flooding caused by the heavy rain affected over 300 houses and religious worship centres. Many rivers and streams had overflown across the city. A lot of roads were flooded, trees fell across major roads, bridges caved in and property worth millions of naira were either submerged or swept away by flood.
One of the badly affected communities is Kuola in Iddo Local Government Area. Apart from flooding experienced by hundreds of people that live very close to the Aworere River that passes through the community, it also destroyed the bridge on the river at Olorunadaba that links Apata with the uncompleted New Garage-Apata Expressway, Lagos-IbadanExpressway and Ijebu-Ode Road.
A recent visit to the Kuola community revealed that the destroyed bridge has become a death trap. Water has eroded the sands beside the bridge across the road and underneath of the bridge. Water had dug a side of the bridge to the extent that the tar, which linked the road with the bridge was delicately suspended. The underneath of the tar had been eroded by water.
But for the barricade and warning signs put on top of the bridge to caution road users, the hanging link between the road and the bridge would have caved in and unsuspecting motorists would have gone down into the river.
Many vehicles were parked by the roadside on both side of the bridge because they could not cross over to the other side. The alternative route would take motorists about one hour to cover instead of 10 minutes. The bridge could be an accident waiting to happen for motorcyclists and pedestrians crossing. The tension is heightened by the impending August heavy rains. Residents fear that the whole bridge could be completely swept away by flood because its foundation and sides have been eroded by water.
Mr. Muritala Afolabi is the Chairman, Olorunadaba Landlords Association, Kuola. He told Daily Sun: “Each time heavy rain falls in this area, Aworere River always overflows its bank and submerges many houses.” He recalled that the bridge was destroyed by the flooding of Tuesday, June 20, 2017. He said the volume of water passing through the bridge was probably higher than its capacity.
He appealed to Oyo State Government to urgently reconstruct the bridge based on its socio-economic importance to thousands of residents of Ibadan and wayfarers that use the road. He said the association having realised the danger posed by incessant flooding of the areas, contacted Ministry of Environment and Water Resources to help dredge the river.
Aworere River is one of the 40 rivers in Ibadan dredged by the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project (IUFMP) in collaboration with the ministry early in the year.
Afolabi added: “Based on incessant flooding caused by the river we took steps by going to the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources. Officials of the ministry later sent some engineers to inspect the river. We were persistent in going to the ministry and later the government brought some equipment and dredged the river for us. We were happy that the river was dredged.
“But the problem we have now is that the Olorunadaba Bridge on Aworere River has become impassable. The underneath of the bridge has collapsed and has become a death trap. This is why we stopped vehicles especially cars from crossing the bridge. The bridge got to this stage because the volume of water coming from the other side is more than the water passage path created in the bridge.
“When the bridge was destroyed by flood, we went to the ministry again to complain. We submitted a letter on the state of the bridge with photographs. We also submitted a copy of the later and pictures to the Governor’s Office. We were told that the officials of the government would come and check the bridge for us.”
Daily Sun discovered that the bridge has been an important link for the residents of Kuola and its environs. Apart fr4om that, motorists coming from Lagos, Ijebu-Ode and Challenge usually pass through the road because it is shorter. It is also an alternative route to avoid the rampant logjam between Odo-Ona and Apata axis of Ibadan-Abeokuta Road. It is a busy road, which leads to Apata Market. Motorists going to Omi-Adio and Abeokuta pass through the place at the same time.
However, about 500 metres away from the bridge, there is another bridge at Aba Eleshin that needs urgent attention of the government. This Aworere River also leads to the second bridge. The bridge was said to have collapsed two years ago and the community contributed money to reconstruct it. But they now need the help of government to complete the bridge.
A pedestrian plank bridge was constructed on the river at the site of the second collapsed bridge. But whenever there was downpour, the water level usually rose beyond the makeshift bridge and nobody would be able to cross from one side to the other.
Treasurer, Owodunni Landlords Association, Zone III, Kuola, Mr. Peter Aweda, said the road that passes through the community from Apata, via Confidence Bus Stop leads to Oluyole Estate, Ibadan: “When this bridge collapsed, there was nowhere to pass again. The landlords contributed money and started making the bridge. We have been on it for the past two years.
“We are appealing to the government to assist us. We have been to Iddo Local Government and we were asked to write latter, which we did. We made a makeshift pedestrian bridge. But whenever there is heavy rain, we would not be able to pass through this bridge. We have eight zones of landlord association in this area and thus bridge is located in zone three.”
Coordinator, Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project (IUFMP), Mr. Dayo Ayorinde, when contacted, noted that the Aworere River was dredged earlier this year up to Olorunadaba bridge, promising that the IUFMP would send a team to the collapsed bridges and appropriate actions would be taken.