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Rain sweeps away bridge in Cross River

By The Citizen

Torrential down pour late last week swept away the Akrieha bridge in Aliforkpa, Yache in Yala local government area in the northern part of Cross River State.

The bridge constructed with wood and iron ralings during the colonial era had for  a long time  become a rickety death trap after several decades of serving as the only link between the people of Yache and Okuku the suburban town in the area.

A source in the area, Mr Matthias Oko, a former journalist with the Newswatch said many villages   inhabited by several  thousands of people have been cut off effcetively plunging them into further poverty as they cannot take their agricultural products to the Okuku market.

'And those who have to get to Okuku which is some three kileomttres away when the bridge was in place  have to go through Gabu  which effectively doubles the journey with the attendant bad road'.

The bridge which  serves as a link between the people of Benue and Yala was constructed by colonial engineers  to  enable colonial officers ride through on their bicyles to tour surrounding villages  and was later widened to allow pick vans drive through to the villages to evacuate agrticultural crops from  Yache and the adjoining Benue villages to the Okuku market for onward movement to major twosn like  Abakaliki, Calabar, Kaduna and Lagos.

'As  I speak to you now, thousands of  people have been cut off from the rest of Yala and for those who want to get to Okuku or Ogoja to sell their agricultural produce, have to go through Gabu which doubles the jourmey for them'. Oko said

The road which is one of the worst in the state is muddy and swampy and  makes movement a hazardous task for  okada and bicycles which are the only means of movement able to navigate the raod this time of the year.

'No car dares come this way for now as the raod would not allow it go beyound the entrance to the first village' Matthias said.

Physical beauty does not pay; it has to be coupled with good character. (Trans. from the Akan)
By: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe