FEMA barricades collapsing Dogon Gada bridge to avert loss of lives

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By Philip Yatai

The Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has barricaded Dogon Gada box culvert, which is on the verge of collapse, to avert loss of lives.

Mrs Florence Wenegieme, Director, Forecasting, Response and Mitigation, FEMA, who led the exercise in Abuja on Sunday, described the development as a disaster waiting to happen.

Wenegieme explained that the culvert was on the access road that linked Lokogoma village, popularly known as Dogon Gida community, to Ring Road II.

She described the culvert as one of the vulnerable locations in the FCT, particularly to flooding during the rainy season.

According to her, many members of the community have lost their lives while trying to cross the culvert during the rainy season due to flooding.

“Dogon Gada community is one of the vulnerable locations in the FCT, particularly to flooding during the rainy season.

“Every year, we record loss of lives in this location, especially to flooding. Now the rain is becoming very heavy, and you can see that the box culvert is on the verge of collapsing.

“The shoulders are already sinking, and parts of the bridge are already broken.

“We tried to stop vehicular movement along the road to no avail, and to avert further loss of lives, we have decided to barricade the road completely.”

Mrs Florence Wenegieme, Director, Forecasting, Response and Mitigation, FEMA (in green), after an assessment of the volatile cracks on Dogon Gada Box Culvert, in Abuja on Sunday.

She noted that the area was under Phase III of the Abuja Master Plan, adding that the development of the area was yet to commence, as the development of Phase II was ongoing.

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She, nonetheless, stressed the need for a standard box culvert to be constructed in the location to enable the community members to have access to the expressway (Ring Road II).

She explained that the barricade was a temporary mitigative measure pending when the culvert would be constructed.

“From this location to the express road is about 10 minutes, but the alternative access road will take them about an hour, which is better than loss of lives,” she said.

The Ward Head of Lokogoma Village, Mr Irimiya Kanpani, explained that the box culvert was constructed in 2016 through community efforts.

Kanpani also said that every year, the community members, about 3,000 mobilise resources to maintain the culvert until it finally gave way a few days ago.

He appealed to the Federal Government, the FCT Minister and the Chairman of the Abuja Municipal Area Council to come to their aid.

He said that the community had approached a contractor who said they would need more than N500 million to construct a standard bridge.

The ward head added that so far, members of the community have contributed N2 million to support the construction of a befitting bridge for the community, adding that the donation was ongoing.

“There is no year that we don’t lose a brother, a friend, a father, a mother, or a sister here.

“Our youths are gone and many of my friends have died in this location. Government should please come to our aid,” he pleaded.

Kanpani added that the alternative access road to the community was through Dakwo village by Santos Estate culvert, which was also being flooded every year because of its low elevation.

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“This means that, if the culvert is not constructed and the rains commenced, we will be completely cut off, with no access, in or out of the community,” he said. (NAN)

Edited by Abiemwense Moru

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