Two of the major towns in southern Taraba Takum and Wukari have now been disconnected by road due to the collapse of a bridge built over fifty years ago.
One of them Takum is the hometown of former Minister of Defense in the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Eye witnesses say the bridge located at Peva collapsed after a heavy rainfall in the area that lasted for several hours on Wednesday.
The collapse of the bridge has brought untold hardship to the rural communities in the area who rely on it to evacuate their farm produce and other economic activities. Before it finally gave way on Wednesday, the bridge had been hanging as a death trap particularly with the commencement of this year’s rainy season and the rural inhabitants had repeatedly called on the Federal Government to fix it.
Elder Joseph Kyanden Useh, a community leader, said he had mobilised youths in the area to manage the bridge to enable people access the market and called on the Federal Government to come to the aid of the people of the area, as well as commuters plying the Takum-Wukari road.
“Today is Peva market and only God knows the number of casualties if the bridge had collapsed when people were crossing it to come to the market.
“Peva remains the commercial hub of Taraba, especially when it comes to agricultural business. So, government must fix the bridge to promote commercial activities here,” he said.
The Special Adviser to the Governor of Taraba State on New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Dennis Nev, who hails from the area, said, “The bridge is central to the economy of the state and must not be allowed to be in this bad state for long. It is serving both farmers and contractor handling Kashimbila Dam project who are also constructing a power station in Wukari.
“I want to appeal to the federal and state governments to quickly fix the bridge,” he said.