By Sam Oditah
Umuahia – Eze Philip Ajomiwe, the Traditional Ruler of Oriendu Autonomous Community of Abia, has raised the alarm over the impact of erosion threatening the Imo River Bridge situated in the area.
Ajomiwe, who conducted newsmen round the bridge on Wednesday, expressed concern over the washing away of some portions of the bridge by erosion.
He feared that the facility might collapse “soon if urgent steps are not taken to arrest the menace.
“I appeal to both Abia and Imo governments to save the bridge from imminent collapse,” he said.
The monarch said that the bridge helped to shorten the transportation time of goods and persons between Ohuhu axis of Umuahia North Local Government Area (LGA), of Abia and Ihite Uboma LGA of Imo.
He said that the bridge was constructed by the Niger Delta Development Commission in 2004, during the tenure of Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, an indigene of the area, as chairman.
He said that before the bridge was constructed, his people usually travelled to Umuahia town to board vehicles whenever they wanted to travel to their neighbouring Ihite Uboma communities.
“The bridge made it easy for our people to travel straight to Ihite Uboma and Owerri within few minutes without going through Umuahia.
Ajomiwe described the bridge as a great asset to both Abia and Imo, saying that it facilitated rapid development in the neighbouring Abia North and Ihite Uboma communities in Imo.
He further decried the alarming rate of gully erosion in the Southeast, saying that available statistics showed that Abia alone had about 1,000 active erosion sites.
He said that the menace had wreaked havoc in many communities in the zone, rendering many people homeless.
The monarch, therefore, called on the federal and state governments to urgently address the erosion problem in the zone.