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By Chris Ochayi  

ABUJA: The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has ordered Reynolds Construction Company Nigeria Limited, RCC, to immediately commence remediation works on the collapsed Aleto Bridge along the East West road in Rivers State axis within 24 hours.

RCC is the construction company handling works on Kilometer 6+500, Section 3A of the East-West road where the collapse Aleto Bridge falls in.

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Akpabio charged the contractor to should go and ensure a free flow of traffic to ameliorate the suffering of the people stranded on the due road due to collapse of the bridge.

He said there is need for immediate intervention to make the road passable for already stranded commuters.

But while the contractors pleaded on sending engineers to the project site by Friday morning to assess the level of damage on the infrastructure, Senator Akpabio  insisted that inspection must commence immediately in order to make the road passable for stranded commuters who are going through pains.

Senator Akpabio gave this order yesterday in Abuja after an emergency meeting with the contractors, while blaming the development on delay in mobilization of the contracts for six years.

He also recalled that compensation before commencement of the project was also delayed, noting that, while, 600million was budgeted for compensation, the ministry later discovered that the actual cost for compensation was N6 billion which it settled last year.

The Minister who further blamed the crisis on lack of synergy between his ministry and the ministry of power over the construction of power station appealed to the contractors to quickly intervene to ameliorate the suffering of the people.

According to him,  “We are putting a lot of pressure on you because you are a reliable partner because if the road is shut down it will affect economic activities.

“RCC that is in charge of the project was not mobilsed for six years, we are planning to have a flyover at that section of the road but lack of synergy between ministry and the ministry of power caused the delay.

“We discovered we were to pay N6billion as compensation after we have budgeted N600 million for it.

“It is the commitment of the ministry to ensure the completion of the road and there is also need for a review because prices of materials have gone up.

“I am appealing to RCC contractors to attend to the section of the road before the bridge, President Buhari’s government is a government of solution, they should go and ensure a free flow of traffic to ameliorate the suffering of the people, and we need immediate intervention.

But while the contractors pleaded on sending engineers to the project site by Friday morning to assess the level of damage on the infrastructure, the minister insisted that inspection must commence immediately in order to make the road passable for stranded commuters who are going through pains.

The Managing Director of RCC, Engr. Nader Yusuf told the minister that the company has mobilsed engineers to the project site to carry out immediate assessment of the damage as demanded.

He assured the Minister that road will be made assessable for commuters in the interim while full construction is ongoing.

According to him, “Our engineers are already mobilising workers to embark on the project immediately.”

The Aleto Bridge along the Eleme axis of the East-West road is also the link road to Akwa-Ibom and Cross-River States in addition to over 200 companies operating in Eleme local Government area, especially the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority,Onne, Nigerian Ports Authority,NPA, Federal Ocean Terminal, FOT and Federal Lighter Terminal,Port Harcourt Refinery, Ndoroma Petrochemical Company among others.

Meanwhile, before the unfortunate incident, some stakeholders have raised alarm over imminent collapse of the Aleto Bridge but nothing was done to avert the current crisis

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