For allegedly deceiving the people of Akpajo and indeed users of the collapsing Akpajo bridge, the immediate past acting managing director of the NDDC, Prof Nelson Brambaifa has been summoned to appear before a juju priest.
Early last month, Brambaifa was at the collapsing portion of the bridge, where he promised that an immediate action was going to be taken to fix the bridge as commuters were being subjected to harrowing experiences on that road.
An indigene of the town, a one-time commissioner for sports in Rivers State, Fred Igwe had drawn the attention of the then NDDC boss to the situation of the road.
He had said that the bridge connects two states, nine local government areas and many industries like the Indorama Petrochemicals, Port Harcourt Refining Company and the Onne Port, adding that these big companies attracted heavy traffic of articulated vehicles to the road.
“I appeal to the Federal Government and the NDDC to come to our rescue by taking urgent steps to save the bridge and avert the looming disaster,” he had said.
In his response, the then NDDC boss said the commission would intervene urgently to ensure that activities in these critical industries were not paralysed.
Brambaifa had said: “We will move very fast to avoid a disaster. I have directed our consultants to quickly assess the problem and come up with a design for the repairs.” But Brambaifa did nothing on the road till the day he was sacked unexpectedly.
Since then, some persons have rained curses on him for failing to keep his promise. Some members of the National Assembly even staged a protest over the deplorable state of the bridge recently.
The protest led by the Senator representing Rivers South-East in the National Assembly, Senator Barinada Mpigi alongside the member representing Obio/Akpor federal constituency; Rep O. K. Chinda with others including Awaji Inombek Dagomie Abiante, Igwe Aforji, Hon. Gogo Bright Tamuno, Dumnamene Dekor, Chinyere Igwe among several others, was to bear their mind on the negligence of the federal government towards salvaging the area of impending doom.
During the protest, the people expressed bitterness noting that the state of the bridge is in dare need of urgent intervention.
TNN visited the area to speak with residents on the issue. Mr. Christopher Maximillian, a driver while reacting to the issue frowned on the attitude of leaders, stating that they only react when the worst happens.
Speaking in pidgin English, he said “I know know whether them wan use people for sacrifice before them do this work. I know know, our politicians will react and do something only when lives and properties have been claimed.
“It’s like that all the time, maybe when they hear, 29 dead, 77 hospitalized as Aleto/Akpajo bridge collapse Buhari will own up.”
Expressing the danger it posses to commuters, Mr. Loveday Opurum, a youth leader called on the federal government to rescue the situation before lives are lost in the process.
According to him; “My dear, the truth is that motorists plying this road, including we passengers are not safe, the federal government should come to our rescue before this danger, threat takes people’s lives.”
“Apart from lives and properties which is of course paramount, if this bridge collapses, businesses, activities will be crippled.”
He also noted that plying the road to neighbouring states and companies such as Indorama Petrochemical Company, Refineries and the sea port at Onne in Eleme Local Government Area of the State will be impossible.
Meanwhile, an elderly woman, Mrs. Rosemary Green who appears to be in her late 70’s, have called on the immediate past MD of NDDC to appear before the gods.
She told TNN that “that man come, say him wan do am, him run, no come again, we happy, him say, now now, him go do am but him disappear, tell lam say gods dey find am, my pikin, them waka dey find am, tell lam say dem dey find am, I don talk finish.”