The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) says it will repair the dilapidated bridge linking Okrika and Dere town in Gokana Local Government Area in Rivers.
NDDC’s Acting Managing Director, Dr Joi Nunieh, stated this while inspecting the bridge in Dere, a statement by Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, the commission’s Deputy Director, Corporate Affairs said on Wednesday.
Nunieh said the commission took the decision to prevent the imminent collapse of the abandoned bridge.
“We are shocked at the state of the bridge – which connects two local government areas in the state and also runs across an estuary where fresh and saltwater meets.
“NDDC will quickly assess the problem and immediately start work on the re-enforcement of the bridge.
“We will do this without delay to avoid a total collapse of the bridge”.
The managing director said the poor condition of the bridge was brought to the attention of NDDC by concerned elders from Ogoni and Okirika communities.
“So, we decided to respond as it is part of the core mandate of NDDC to intervene on infrastructure in the Niger Delta region.
“It is also very interesting that the bridge is at the spot where saltwater and freshwater meet.
“The bridge stands at a historic point, and as such, we must work to save the bridge as well as reserve its historic importance,” she said.
Nunieh condemned the damage done to both the environment and aquatic life at a heavily polluted area around Dere River in Gokana.
She urged leaders of the area to call their youth to order to stop the damage on the environment through their alleged involvement in illegal oil bunkering.
The Chairman of Dere Council of Chiefs, Mr Bornu Godswill, thanked the commission for responding to the communities’ “Save-Our-Soul” message.