By Ibraheem Solaudeen.
Residents of Oko-Erin in Ilorin have attributed the collapse of the bridge in the area following Saturday’s downpour to negligence of the government, whom they said failed to respond to the many complaints about the deteriorating bridge.
Eyewitness accounts indicate that a car carrying five passengers was on the bridge when it caved in, resulting in the death of one of the passengers on board.
But a resident of the area who identifies himself as Jimoh Onifila told our correspondent that the accident would have been avoided if the government had responded to the several complaints about the bridge.
“A bridge can’t just collapse without giving notice. Severally, we have made representations to the government, shouting that the bridge was failing. But they did not do anything about it until this happened,” Onifila said.
Another resident who craves anonymity said the state of roads in Ilorin metropolis is worrisome. According to him, “we leant the government is undertaking road projects in Kwara north. In Ilorin here, I have seen repairs of mini roads in selected communities, but these are roads with less traffic that you can’t compare to major roads like this our own.
“If you are familiar with the road that leads to Offa garage from Dangote/House of Assembly axis; you will notice that the bridge immediately after the metropolitan square is getting worse every day. But the government won’t possibly do anything about it until a calamity similar to this one happens.”
Sherifat Ahmed said she believes the government is trying its best and can’t possibly do much owing to competing demands. “I think they should have come to check to see what temporary measures could have been adopted before this happened”, she opined.
Reacting, a student living in the area who witnessed the bridge mishap told INSIDER that the response to the accident wasn’t timely; else it’s possible that no life would have been lost.
According to him, “This particular accident happened around 10pm, and it was not as if nobody saw it the moment it happened. But even though some people were there and wished they could rescue the victims, they had no instruments to use. And the emergency team did not come in time to give the victims the much needed help.”
In his own account, the Deputy Director of the Kwara State Fire Service, Mr. Falade John gave the reason for the accident as the failure of the bridge embankment. He also informed that two people have been rescued with minor injuries.
“The accident happened on Saturday evening when the embankment gave way and resulted in a Toyota Avensis car with five passengers on board falling off the bridge. Two people survived the accident with bruises, while the service recovered a body on Coca Cola road. Two persons were still missing,” John said.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Governor, Mr. Kayode Alabi had mourned the victims of the bridge collapse and extended the condolences of the Kwara State government to their families.
Alabi, while on an inspection visit to the accident scene in company with the governor’s Chief of Staff, Adisa Logun, described the accident as disheartening and tragic.
While urging the people of the area to pay deliberate attention to their waste disposal habits and avoid blocking drainages or blocking waterways in order to avoid erosion of bridges; the deputy governor encouraged the rescue team to expedite action in finding the missing persons.