By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA—The Director General of National Building and Road Research Institute, NIBRRI, Prof. Danladi Matawal has blamed the frequent collapse of bridges around Mokwa area to poor design of the bridges.
Prof. Matawal disclosed on Tuesday ‘ while fielding questions at the ongoing NIBRRI International conference with the theme: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Nigerian Construction Industry – Challenges and the Way Forward in Abuja.
The DG also blamed the bridges collapse to the low lying of the bridges around the area and the collapsible nature of the soil also in the area.
Recall that the Mokwa-Jebba road bridge collapsed on Saturday morning leading to heavy vehicular traffic on the road, which links Niger state and Kwara states.
The road is a major transit route between Abuja and the Western part of the country.
Prof. Matawal, however promised that NIBRRI would step up studies of existing bridges around the country and the Mokwa area in particular to find lasting solution to the collapse.
‘‘There has been a reoccurrence of collapse of bridges both for roads and rail way and culverts around the Mokwa area because of the terrain.
‘‘There was need to adequately design to contain extreme flooding situation. I believe the design did not proper consideration of this.
‘‘I know we visited a year ago, two three collapse sites in the same environment. It is unfortunate it has occurred this year.
‘‘ I think the entire bridges around the area are low lying and with a kind of soil that collapsible, needs to be revisited.
‘‘I am not sure it was the same bridge we visited that collapsed. After the initial construction, we did not foresee the current collapse. We will step up our studies of existing bridges, maybe in some of these areas that look suspect, with a team to see what we can do about it in Omokwa area.’’
While reiterating NIBRRI’s commitment to ensure zero tolerance for building and bridges collapse, the DG said NIBRRI had stemmed building collapse and would sustain the effort to ensure bridges do not collapse again.
‘‘I can assure you that we have stemmed building collapses in the country to a minimum. There are no many building collapses but we will like to have zero tolerance. Our work of intervention is still ongoing and we will not rest on our oars to stem the tide,’’ he added.
On research works and relationship with private sector, Prof. Matawal said NIBRRI has been subjecting its research findings to pilot scheme with a view to commercialize them and create employment and wealth for the people and the economy.
‘‘Our research works have been on pilot scheme, they have become overwhelming and as a consequent, they have become a point of trying our technology in the country on two basis; to teach the people in the environment and the contractors on the technologies. Also, it has become an avenue for employment.
‘We are into collaboration with a number of them that have the potential of benefiting from employment generation, wealth creation. We usually adopt it, incubate it and develop it, the ownership remain for the author.’’
On his part, the minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu reiterated the commitment of the President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration to rebuilding our infrastructure, particularly in the area of housing and roads.
‘‘We need decent houses for our citizens, both the rich and the poor, the old and the young, to live in. WE also need houses for our schools, hospitals, offices and markets.
‘‘We need roads connecting our numerous cities, our rural areas and those leading from urban to rural areas. Our aim is to work very hard and help this research institute to become one of the best, if not the best in the world. I know that is not easy, but we will continue to strive to do our best, until our goal is achieved,’’ the minister said.
The conference is meant to showcase the numerous achievements made by Nigerian researchers in NIBRRI.