The people of Ijan Ekiti, Gbonyin Local Government Area of Ekiti State, have raised the alarm as the town and other communities in the council were cut off from Ado Ekiti, the state capital, due to the collapse of a link bridge.
The bridge, located in front of Saint Paul’s Anglican Primary School, in the heart of the town, collapsed on Saturday due to torrential downpours and the attendant erosion.
The terrible situation came barely two weeks after the town lost its monarch and Onijan of Ijan Ekiti, Oba Oyewole Fadahunsi, who joined his ancestors, after reigning for 19 years.
Most of the towns that have found it difficult to access Ado Ekiti as a result of the incident are Ijan, Iluomoba, Agbado, Aisegba, Imesi and Ode Ekiti, as well those traveling out of the state to Ondo and Kogi states and the Federal Capital Territory.
The bridge, built during the military government in the old Ondo State, was said to have caved in due to persistent erosion and overflow of water in that axis.
Another factor identified as the root cause of the collapse was the increasing movements of heavy-duty vehicles along Ado-Ijan-Omuo-Kabba Abuja federal road in recent times.
The incident had affected free follow of vehicles along that route, as motorists had to resort to other alternative roads to maneuver their ways from Ijan to Iluomoba up to Irun in Ondo State.
The same scenario was witnessed in 2019 along Erio-Efon-Iwaraja road in Ekiti West Local Government Area and the situation was remedied due to swift intervention of the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Hon. Femi Bamisile.
Bamisile is representing Gbonyin/ Ekiti East/Ensure Federal Constituency, which Ijan Ekiti is one of the constituent towns, in the Lower Chamber of the National Assembly.
Regretting the situation, the Osodi of Ijan Ekiti, High Chief Kehinde Ojo, appealed to the federal and state governments to promptly reconstruct the collapsed bridge to restore normalcy.
Ojo, who is the acting traditional head of Ijan Ekiti, pending the appointment of a regent to superintend over the town, stated that a letter had been written to the state government on the need to take prompt action on the collapsed bridge.
“As we speak now, traffic along that route had been altered and affected. Economic activities are also being affected because some of the vehicles carrying agriculture products to the market centres are affected.
“We should also look at the environmental hazard the portion poses to our people being in the heart of the town. The surroundings are being degraded due to erosion and this should not be allowed to continue”, he said.
A member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), plying Ado-Ijan-Ikare road, Com. Talabi Adeyemo, regretted that the collapsed bridge and the deplorable state of the road have been reducing their income and causing colossal damage to vehicles.