- Anambra, Imo border communities cry out for help
George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
The joy of the people of Assa-Ubirielem, Ihitte Nansa and Amaruru in Orsu North Local Government Area of Imo State and Ezinifite community in Nnewi South Local Government Area in Anambra State knew no bounds last week as temporary relief came their way.
An indigene of Awo-Idemilli in Orsu, Imo State, Obioha Ozodinobi had brought succour to the border communities by constructing a makeshift wooden bridge across the Urasi River, following the collapse of the decades old bridge.
The people were happy that at least, they could once again attend social functions and meet with their relatives which they had not been able to do in the last three months. They praised Ozodinobi’s philanthropy particularly as he was not directly affected by the collapse of the bridge.
Daily Sun gathered that on April 1, 2018, the Imo/Anambra border communities were inadvertently thrown into hardship, as their socio-economic activities were abruptly brought to a halt because of the collapse of the Urasi Bridge which connected them, when an articulated vehicle laden with bags of cement from Imo state made to cross to the Anambra side.
Despite entreaties, neither Government of Imo nor Anambra state deemed it expedient to relieve the people of their agony by fixing the collapsed bridge built in the early 60s.
Madam Fidelia, from Ihitte Nansa said many elderly people from both communities across the Urasi Bridge who solely depended on their children, most of whom traders and artisans also suffered severely as their children had difficulty catering for them.
“The collapse of the old Urasi Bridge did not only affect our daily commercial and social activities but also the schooling of our children because some of the children either attend schools in Nnewi south while some have their schools at Orsu North and for more than two months that the bridge collapsed the children were at home and we are grateful to Engineer Magnus who has helped us in repairing it so that at least the two border communities could continue with their businesses,” she stated.
In the same vein, a petty trader, Mrs Nkechi Duru lamented that the collapse of the bridge affected commercial activities among the communities because they depend on the markets for their daily income.
In her words: “When the trailer that was carrying bags of cement collapsed the old Urasi Bridge the people of the border communities in Imo and Anambra wept because we knew it would take time for the state government to rebuild it. So, we were not happy because we depend on the markets for our daily income and even debt owed to us could not be collected because of the situation. So, we thank God that this God-sent man has repaired it to enable us to continue with our trading.”
The worst hit by the collapse of the bridge were the commercial motorcycle operators popularly called Okada who also earn their living by transporting traders and their wares to the various markets across both divides.
Just like the Okada operators who poured encomiums on Ozodinobi, a community leader in the area, Chief Damian Okpara also commended the gesture. He, however, appealed to the Federal and State Governments to quickly provide a more lasting solution.