Tragedy was averted in the early hours of Wednesday in Taraba following the collapse of a major bridge at Peva, which linked Wukari and Takum towns in the state.
Takum is the home town of a former Minister of Defence and Former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma.
An eyewitness, Mr Torsaa Chieve, told newsmen that the collapse of the bridge followed a heavy rain that lasted for several hours in the area.
He lamented that residents of Peva in Chanchanji ward along Takum-Wukari Expressway had repeatedly called on the Federal Government to fix the bridge which had become a death trap since the beginning of the rainy season this year.
Elder Joseph Kyanden Useh, a community leader, said he had mobilised youths in the area to manage the bridge to enable people access the market and called on the Federal Government to come to the aid of the people of the area, as well as commuters plying the Takum-Wukari road.
“Today is Peva market and only God knows the number of casualty if the bridge had collapsed when people were crossing it to come to the market.
“Peva remains the commercial hub of Taraba, especially when it comes to agricultural business. So government must fix the bridge to promote commercial activities here,” he said.
The Special Adviser to the Governor of Taraba State on New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Dennis Nev, who hails from the area, said, “The bridge is central to the economy of the state and must not be allowed to be in this bad state for long. It is serving both farmers and contractor handling Kashimbila Dam project who are also constructing a power station in Wukari.
“I want to appeal to the federal and state governments to quickly fix the bridge,” he said.
Our correspondent gathered that the bridge was constructed in 1967 during the military administration of Gen. Yakubu Gowon, while Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo was the site engineer.
The bridge was said to have been constructed by the military to enable soldiers to access the 93 Army Battalion in Ada Barracks, Takum.