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12 feared drowned as bridge collapses

Posted by By GEOFFREY ANYANWU, Awka on 2008/04/05 | Views: 641 |

12 feared drowned as bridge collapses


Eye-witnesses to the collapse of the bridge of the popular Ezu-Ebenebe river in Ebenebe-Amansea, Awka North Local Government of Anambra State yesterday disagreed on the number of casualties.

Eye-witnesses to the collapse of the bridge of the popular Ezu-Ebenebe river in Ebenebe-Amansea, Awka North Local Government of Anambra State yesterday disagreed on the number of casualties.

While some claim 12 persons drowned, others said they were not sure anybody died.
The about 50-meter bridge across the Ezu-Ebenebe river is a link road to over five of 10 communities in Awka North

The incident which occurred about 1pm on Saturday coincidentally happened when a trailer allegedly belonging to Breco Construction Company which is constructing the about 39-kilometers Amansea –Ebenebe –Ugbene –Ugbenu – Awba Ofemmili road wanted to cross the bridge with 50 tones of chippings against instructions that vehicles with loads above 12 tones should not cross the bridge.

The 38-year-old belly bridge is said to have been built by the Nigerian Army during the Nigerian civil war and has unfortunately remained same with regular patches done by various religious groups in Ebenebe .

The incident kept hundreds of people stranded as movement across the river became difficult with canoe as the only alternative
Speaking to newsmen at the place, an eye-witness, Mr Nnaegbuna Ikem said, "you can see the neglect for yourself, the bridge has collapsed killing 12 persons and swallowing trailer belonging to Breco and other vehicles trying to pass the bridge during the accident. This thing happened by 1pm yesterday."

But some other eyewitnesses like Ifeanyi Agaracha and Emmanuel Nnonyelu said that the trailer driver against their warnings to go back concealed the 50 tons of chippings he was carrying to deceive them only for the bridge to crack midway drowning the 16 -tyre trailer.
They further said they were not aware of any other casualties except the driver and his conductor who had deep cuts on their faces.

Meanwhile, Governor Peter Obi and some top government functionaries visited the scene yesterday and promised to construct an alternative route to ease the suffering of the people.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after their visit, the Commissioner for Information and Culture , Prof. Mrs Stella Okunna said. "You can see the part of neglect the people have suffered all these years in the hands of the previous governments and that is what the governor is trying to correct."

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