The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has opened an ultra-modern foot-bridge along the busy Aba Road in Port Harcourt.
The bridge, which has become a new landmark in the capital city, is a tube linking the corporate headquarters of the commission to its equally modern car park for staff and visitors.
While declaring the foot-bridge open for use, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the commission, Bassey Dan-Abia, noted that the safety of staff and visitors to the NDDC headquarters was a paramount consideration in putting up the structure.
In his words, “It is part of our efforts to provide a safe working environment for our staff and make sure that none of them is exposed to unnecessary risk.”
He described the foot-bridge as very magnificent and stressed that it was also technically and aesthetically very good.
The NDDC MD, who was flanked by top management staff of the commission, promised to provide 24-hour security for the foot bridge to ensure that it is safe at all times. He announced that the bridge would be restricted to NDDC staff until the commission finishes test-running the facility.
The NDDC Executive Director Projects, Engr. Tuoyo Omatsuli, also gave assurances that the foot-bridge would be very well maintained, noting that all the facilities such as the lighting and air conditioning would be kept at tip-top shape.
He described the foot-bridge as the first of its kind in the South-South region. “The design is unique and on entering the bridge, you will think that you are stepping into a rail station in Europe or America.”
Protesters in Port-Harcourt, the Rivers State capital held a public demonstration on Tuesday, causing a massive traffic gridlock along the busy Aba Road.
The demonstrators who referred to themselves as the Ikwerre People’s Assembly carried placards and chanted slogans accusing Governor Chibuike Amaechi of high handedness and deliberate provocation of law enforcement officers.
Some of the protest leaders said that the Ikwerres had lost confidence in the Governor’s leadership and accused him of mismanagement of funds.
In a swift reaction, the Rivers State Government described the demonstration as an assembly masterminded by opponents of Governor Rotimi Amaechi.
In an interview with Channels Television, Chief of Staff to Rivers State Governor, Mr. Tony Okocha, explained that the group, Ikwerre People’s Assembly does not exist and was merely an expression coined to give the gathering an identity.
He said that the attacks against the Governor were unjustified and that calling Governor Amaechi a despot because he was firm about doing the right thing was a misunderstanding of the whole issue.
The Rivers state governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has assured the residents of Port Harcourt of a speedy and permanent solution to the frail Air Force Bridge whose retaining wall partly caved in and collapsed after a heavy downpour on Sunday night.
Mr Amaechi was speaking during an unscheduled inspection of the bridge where a section of its retaining wall collapsed at the Nigerian Air Force Junction in the Obio Akpor local government axis of Rivers state.
Debunking some media reports, he said that the bridge itself did not collapse rather; it was the retaining wall that collapsed.
The governor, who blamed the poor construction of the bridge on the former contractor Bulletin Construction, said there was a need to rebuild the embankment to the bridge.
He however noted that talks were on to take over the reconstruction of the bridge.
He also ordered that traffic be redirected to reduce traffic congestion on the Aba Road which has already built up. This, he said, is done to negotiate and ensure that the pricing for the reconstruction of the flyover did not skyrocket and follows due process.
Speaking on other road projects in the state, Mr Amaechi dispelled rumours that roads built by his administration are not durable, according to him, the complaints about Choba/Rumuokwuta Road is because the road has not been completed.
He said “the problem with Choba Road is that first, it has not been completed, it is still at binder course…, secondly is that we have not directed away the water from the drain so you have a crisis where water is affecting the structure of the road”.
The Air Force Bridge was constructed in 2006 by Bulletin Construction Company during governor Peter Odili’s administration.