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Kwara Bridges of the Dead | Daily Trust

The death of Sheikh Abdulganiyu Aboto and two of his students at the Sobi/Abattoir Bridge highlights similar deaths at related state facilities. Daily Trust Saturday chronicles the trend and examines solutions to the problem.

LLast month, Sheikh AbdulGaniy Aboto and two of his students were killed on the Slaughterhouse Bridge along Sobi Road in Ilorin East Local Government of Kwara State after they were swept away by flooding which followed by torrential rain that devastated the metropolis.

Aboto, it was learned, was coming from a dawah activity in Minna, Niger State, alongside two of his students – Alfa Azeez Omoekun and Alfa Nurudeen, when his Toyota Yaris car got stuck crossing the flood. Their bodies and the vehicle were discovered a day after the water had calmed down.

Although their deaths were attributed to a natural disaster beyond the control of the government, it however revealed a related pattern in similar circumstances in the state, with residents and stakeholders worrying about the state of bridges in the state.

A few years ago, Daily Trust Saturday reliably gathered that a senior state official, a Mr. Owolabi, who was the husband of the late Dr. (Ms.) Owolabi of the Faulty of Law, University of Ilorin, died under similar circumstances during construction. from the Harmony Estate/Akerebiata Bridge.

“In a similar circumstance at night during a downpour, he had attempted to cross the bridge and his car was swept into the river,” a university staff member noted. The national president of the Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN) and a former law school dean confirmed the matter.

In June 2020, as many as five people were swept away by a heavy downpour when another bridge in Oke-Erin collapsed around 10 p.m. on a Saturday, killing three family members, with only one surviving. The occupants were said to have returned home after closing their shops when tragedy struck.

According to state firefighters, the vehicle had five occupants and “one of them got out of the vehicle to check the depth of the torrent. But unfortunately the embankment gave way and the bridge suddenly collapsed and sank. Two other occupants who also got out of the vehicle sank and their vehicle fell off the bridge,” he noted.

While the body of deceased father, Mr Okechukwu Orwabor was found in Coca Cola Road, Ilorin, the bodies of Chuben Orwabo and Chibike Orwabo previously reported missing were found six days later by firefighters.

In a related development during the state’s previous administration, approximately 17 occupants of a Toyota Skoda commercial bus bearing Kwara XA 805 LRN license plate, escaped death by whiskers on the link road in Akerebiata.

An eyewitness, Mr Tajudeen Usman, said the flooding knocked the vehicle off the road before the passengers quickly descended.

But a 65-year-old construction materials trader, Mr. Kehinde Ajongbolo, was not so lucky as he was swept away with his motorbike into the river at night after the downpour cut the link road between the barracks of Sobi and the adjourned communities around Akerebiata. Bridge. A relative of his, Isa Ajongbolo, told reporters that a search party organized later found the deceased’s motorbike in the river and his body about a kilometer away, adding that the deceased had lost his twin brother a few years. before the incident.

Earlier this month, residents of Oloje/Ogidi community in Ilorin West Local Government Area lamented the deplorable condition of the bridge serving the community which is on the verge of collapse.

One of them, Mr Kolawole, said the bridge had been in poor condition for years, adding that it was worrying that it was located opposite the Oloje police station.

According to him, with the current situation of the bridge and its dilapidated state, it is doubtful that it can survive two rains without collapsing. “This bridge connects motorists to Okoolowo, a busy corridor. We recorded the destruction of valuable property and businesses due to the situation without any tangible effort to remedy the situation and save the resident from imminent danger or was it after we started recording the casualties that he Will it be repaired or rebuilt? ” He added.

The publicity secretary of the Kwara Butchers Association, Oba Elegede, where the bridge that took the life of the late Sheikh Aboto is located, said the facility had recorded several deaths which have not been documented.

“Apart from the death of Sheikh Aboto and two of his students recently, we have had more than five fatalities on this bridge, as well as several vehicles and motorbikes that were swept away.

“A very worrying concern is that the road is not only narrow compared to the volume of vehicles using it, it is also difficult for those who are not used to the road to know that a bridge is there because the flood covers it. Even when there is no rain, except for those familiar with the terrain, any motorist can easily fall inside the bridge while driving, especially at night, as there are no indications that there is a bridge or railings/steel structures to hang any vehicle from and/or that people can use for support in case of flooding.

“Besides the faulty construction, the bridge itself needs to be rebuilt and expanded. We can’t say we don’t want rain, but this bridge has become a danger zone for everyone, especially those who ignore the deadly situation we have here. Serious and urgent work needs to be done there. He has consumed several lives in the past. It is the status of Sheikh Aboto that has caught the media’s attention this time” , he added.

government post

While inspecting the Oko-Erin tragedy, Deputy Governor of Kwara State, Mr. Kayode Alabi, who mourned the victims, described the accident as disheartening, tragic and traumatic. He urged people to refrain from dumping garbage in drains or building on waterways to avoid flooding or erosion of bridges.

Similarly, sympathizing with the victims of recent incidents, the government has warned residents against indiscriminate dumping into sewers. In a statement signed jointly by the environment commissioners and his counterparts of works and transport, respectively Ms. Remilekun Banigbe and Rotimi Iliasu, the government said that different teams of experts and administrators from the ministries visited the different areas affected.

“While the government is already taking action to deal with the Akerebiata bridge which partially collapsed following the downpour, we call on citizens to refrain from indiscriminate dumping of waste into drains and all waterways. Also, some people who had long built houses on the waterways are another major reason why this happens.

“Besides the obvious increase in rainfall across the country due to climate change, the relentless dumping of waste into our drainages remains a major reason for flooding, as waste continues to block the free flow of water. number of drainages the government builds and the number of times these drainages are desilted, the continuous and indiscriminate dumping of waste will always subject everyone to avoidable loss, hardship and embarrassment, as we have seen in over time,” they added.

expert angle

By speaking with Daily Trust Saturdaya senior state civil engineer, engineer Bashir Atunde Lawal, said there was a need to prioritize the maintenance schedule and proper inspection of the bridges.

“Where we are here, we don’t value nature or prepare for it. We have been warned that the volume of rain will be significant this year and most of the bridges we have in the state should have been inspected at the onset and after the rain to fix any defects seen as bridges also have lifespans that are affected by human activities. We don’t need to wait for failure.

The engineer said that there is no proper design in most hydraulic structures that have come of age. He noted that “the Abattoir Bridge (where Aboto and the students died) is over 60 years old.

“Sometimes, even if the works are intact, the runoff can overflow due to the current perpendicular to the flow of traffic and when there is water, the friction between the tires of the vehicle and the roadway is reduced (lubricated) and the slightest incident divert the vehicle towards the hydraulic structures (bridge).

“The only thing that would have been beneficial was to have the handrail which would have acted as a kind of buffer if the stream is not more than the rail can take. But the best thing to to do is to change our attitude towards maintenance. Most of these structures should have been reinforced (steel) by now,” he added.