RESIDENTS of the affected flood areas yesterday counted their losses as motorists and commuters groaned under heavy traffic snarl, which dominated the state capital following the collapse of many bridges in the Saturday night’s downpour.
This came as the state government sacked the contractor handling the reconstruction of Apete Bridge, which was washed away in the last August 26, 2011, flood disaster.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi had awarded contract for the reconstruction of Apete Bridge to KBP International alongside some others damaged during the flood disaster.
Also group within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State again took on Governor Abiola Ajimobi over the last Saturday’s flood disaster, which ravaged the state capital and washed away many bridges, houses and churches.
The group, “PDP Synergy League” through its Spokesperson, Dotun Oyelade, accused the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) led government of negligence and insensitivity in the handling of the flood disaster.
But the ACN, while faulting the group’s claim, described its members as ‘renegades and rouble rousers’ and should be ignored.
The PDP group demanded to know what Ajimobi has been doing for the past 11 months after last year’s flood disaster during which Federal and state governments, as well as corporate bodies, donated handsomely to bolster government purse to assist thousands of victims.
Although no life was lost in the latest flood disaster, many houses particularly around Odo-Ona Elewe/New Garage, Arulogun, Oluyole, UI-Ojoo, as well as Eleyele were affected.
Residents of Oluyole were stranded as the two bridges at 7-Up and Rhema end which serve as a link to the town, have been washed away.
This forced many to go through Apata road, also plied by trucks operating at the depot in the area, thus resulting in heavy traffic snarl.
The story was the same in Mokola and its environs as the bridge along Jemibewon/Celestial road also caved in during the heavy downpour.
Men of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and policemen were deployed to major roads in the state capital to control traffic and prevent chaos.
While announcing the sack of KBP International, the state government assured that a new contractor would move to site in the next 24 hours after due process must have been observed.
The state Commissioner for Works and Transport, Alhaji Yunus Akintunde, at a press briefing stated that the bridge, as well as 15 others damaged across the state during the flood exercise that occurred on Saturday night would be reconstructed as soon as possible.
Apparently irked by the slow pace of work on the rehabilitation of Apete Bridge, the government said it had decided that a new contractor would take over the project within the next few hours.
Akintunde said the state executive council had mandated his ministry and that of Physical Planning and Urban Development to come up with a new proposal on the possible and urgent ways of putting all the damaged bridges back to use as soon as practicable.
“The council equally considered the Apete Bridge today and resolved that because of the current development and the heavy downpour that had suddenly occurred, there is the need to take a drastic action on the bridge construction so as to ameliorate the suffering of our people. In this wise, council decided that the drastic measure would have to be a reassessment and re-awarding of the bridge contract which should take place within the next 24 hours,” he said.
The commissioner explained that government was largely hampered from demolishing all the houses earlier red-marked for demolition because many of the owners had gone to courts to obtain injunctions against the planned demolition.
“The government is beginning soon the second phase of the removal of such structures (built on flood plains). However, we are inhibited by the activities of some landlords and landlords’ associations whose houses are located on flood plains who have taken government to court even for marking their structures for demolition. But we do plan to embark on the demolition exercise very soon. We have marked the structures and we are going to remove them but we may not cover them in totality due to these court injunctions.”