The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has said that it will take urgent steps to save the bridge linking Okrika and Dere community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State from imminent collapse.
Speaking when she visited the K-Dere and B-Dere communities on inspection of the dilapidated bridge yesterday, the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Dr. Joi Nunieh, said that the Commission would quickly assess the problem to start work on re-enforcement of the bridge.
Nunieh, who was accompanied by the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Chief Ibanga Bassey; the Acting Executive Director, Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, and NDDC engineers, expressed shock at the state of the bridge which not only connects two local government areas in the state but also runs across an estuary where fresh and salt water meet.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that having inspected the dilapidated road and failing bridge, the Commission was going to ensure that work commenced "without delay to avoid a total collapse of the bridge."
She said the Commission was alerted about the poor state of the bridge by concerned elders from Ogoni and Okrika and decided to respond as it was part of the core mandate of NDDC to intervene on infrastructure in the Niger Delta region.
According to her, “this needs an emergency intervention. It is very interesting that the bridge is at the spot where salt water and fresh water meet. The bridge stands at a historic point, and so, we must work to save the bridge and by so doing, reserve its historic importance. "
Nunieh also visited a polluted area on the Dere River where she lamented the damage done to the environment and aquatic life. She tasked Gokana leaders to intervene by calling youths in the area to order to end the continued damage to the environment through illegal oil bunkering.
Earlier, the Chairman of Dere Council of Chiefs, Chief Bornu Godswill, said that the people were grateful to the NDDC for its prompt response to their ‘Save-Our-Soul’ message.
He said the people in the surrounding local governments were pleading for immediate intervention of NDDC to save the bridge from an imminent collapse.