Residents of Ilogbo, a town in the Ado Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State, have been cut off from their neighbours, as the bridge linking them with other communities has collapsed.
The bridge, which was constructed over the Atuwara River, linked the community with Oju-Ore and Iwoye, among other communities in the Ota area.
Residents who spoke with PUNCH on Saturday said they woke up on Thursday to discover that the bridge had collapsed.
They said each time it rained, the river usually overflowed its banks and covered the bridge. But on Wednesday, the torrential rain weakened the bridge, and it caved in after a truck loaded with sand crossed it.
They said since then, their children could no longer go to school because of the precarious nature of what remained of the bridge.
Although through the efforts of the landlords, tricycle and okada (motorcycle) operators, a makeshift plank bridge had been constructed over the river, it could only be used by those walking on foot and okada operators.
They said passengers must disembark on both sides of the makeshift bridge and allow only the okada riders to pass through the bridge, after which the passengers would cross over to join the riders to proceed on their journeys.
It was gathered that for now, tricycle operators were operating on both sides of the collapsed bridge. While some would bring commuters from Oju Ore, Ota end, to the bridge, the commuters would cross the plank bridge on foot and join another tricycle for onward journey to their destinations.
A resident, who did not give his name, said, “Car owners can no longer use their cars as they now patronise okada and tricycle riders.”
The residents and the traditional ruler in Ilogbo called on the state government to come to their rescue by repairing the collapsed bridge, saying it was the only one remaining out of the three roads leading to the community.
He said the other two – Ilogbo-Iju Road and old Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway -Ilogbo Road – had become almost impassable.
One of the landlords, Lekan Ayilara, said he could no longer go out with his car, adding that he might be forced to stop his children from going to school at Ewupe in Ota due to the precarious nature of the makeshift bridge being used.
He said Ilogbo had been neglected and deserved government attention.
He said, “Since Thursday last week, I have parked my car at home because no vehicle could move on that bridge anymore.
“There is no government presence in Ilogbo since the beginning of the democratic rule. Politicians would come during electioneering, promising heaven and earth, but after the elections, they would disappear.
“We are appealing to the state government to come to our aid speedily.”
The treasurer of the tricycle operators in the area, Ogungbayi Adesegun, said the temporary bridge was constructed through the joint efforts of the tricycle and okada operators, and some landlords in the area.
He, however, urged the state government to wade in quickly by reconstructing the collapsed bridge.
He said, “We want a lasting solution from the state government. It should help us to quickly reconstruct the collapsed bridge.”
Another resident, Ahmed Alubarika, told our correspondent that with the collapse of the bridge, the Ilogbo community had been cut off from economic activities.
He said those who supplied goods to traders in the community could no longer cross over with their vehicles.
The Onilogbo of Ilogbo, Oba Samuel Ojegbele, said the people of the area had been suffering since the bridge collapsed.
The monarch added that he had contacted the state government concerning the collapsed bridge.
He said, “All the three major roads linking Ilogbo to other areas like Ota, Iju and the old Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway are in bad shape.
“We were relying on this road linking us to Ota until Wednesday when the bridge collapsed. Now we are totally cut off from our neighbours. The economic activities of my people are affected. I can no longer travel to Abeokuta to attend meetings. It is that bad.
“I have already contacted the state government, and I believe our governor will intervene and reconstruct the bridge.”