Governor Kayode Fayemi

Ekiti communities cut-off after ‘heavy’ flood destroys bridge

NEWS DIGEST–Residents of Oke Ako Ekiti and Irele Ekiti in the Ikole Council Area of Ekiti State have called on the state Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, to rebuild Arinkin Bridge destroyed by flood on Thursday night.

The communities had woken up on Friday morning to find that they had been cut off from one another following the collapse of the bridge.

The Regent of Oke Ako Ekiti, Princess Tinuade Ogunbiyi, said, “The only solution is for government to construct a new bridge that has the capacity for the volume of water here. We want the state government to rescue us urgently. We are helpless.

“Our prayer now is that there should be no emergency situation from Irele Ekiti requiring urgent medical attention; there is no access again for those who want to go to hospital for one reason or the other or medical checkup.

“Farmers, who have their farms there, can’t go to the farms again. What is the fate of those who had harvested yams and have no way to take the produce to the markets? It has affected farming. Those travelling to Irele and Kogi State through Oke Ako cannot go. In the same way, those going to Ado Ekiti from Irele and Kogi have been denied access.”

A community leader at Oke Ako, Mrs Grace Olofin, corroborated the regent, saying, “We are pleading with Governor Kayode Fayemi, the place needs urgent attention, especially in view of the importance of the agrarian area to the economy of the state.

“With this development, farmers cannot go to their farms. This is the time of harvest for yams; if they cannot go to the farms now, the Fulani herdsmen will seize that opportunity to go and sleep inside their farms and uproot their yams and as well their farm products.

“The government should give us urgent attention. The road is the easiest access to anywhere. People from Kwara and Kogi coming to Ekiti and Lagos use the road. It will paralyse our economy and internally-generated revenue. There is no way now to take yams from our farms and Irele to Ipao and Odo Oro yam markets.”

A native of Irele and a spokesman for Ekamarun, comprising Irele, Oke Ako, Ipao Itapaji and Iyemero communities, Abayomi Oluwafemi, who said communal effort had sustained the bridge and prevented loss of lives before the Thursday night rains, said, “All Oke Ako farmers have their farms after the bridge and cannot access their farms now. Those at Irele, who have produce and the traders from Kogi who patronise Ikole and Ado markets, cannot cross. The transporters plying that route are also denied the opportunity of their daily bread.

“We want government to come to our aid swiftly. Any palliative that could be done now to connect the disconnected communities in the interest of the people’s economies and transporters before construction of a solid bridge there during the dry season should be done. The resources coming from this part are enormous.”

Also, a student and native of Irele, Segun Olayemi, said, “The experience in the last two or three days has not been easy. We want to appeal to the governor to please attend to this issue. The place needs a very wide and solid bridge that can accommodate the waters in the peak of heavy rains.”

The Special Adviser to the governor on Road Transport and Infrastructure, Sunday Adunmo, said on Sunday, “We are going to construct a massive bridge. We don’t have any option but to do the needful.

“The governor had directed us to move down immediately. We have been going there for the past three days now. I was there with some experts for us to look at what can be done as soon as the rains are over. We will commence the design on the bigger bridge as soon as possible after the rains.”