Farmers Appreciate New 360m Bridge in Cross River
Eme Offiong, Calabar
Cocoa Farmers rolled out the drums in appreciation of the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari for the promise kept to complete the construction of a new 360 metre length bridge, which links Cross River in the south-south to northern Nigeria.
The bridge, according to President Buhari during a virtual inauguration of the infrastructure, was constructed to address the inadequacies of the old Ikom bridge located on a major south-north arterial highway in central Cross River State and cater for heavy duty vehicles, enable the Calabar Seaport and Free Trade Zone to be fully operational and accessible to traffic from the north-east and north central parts of Nigeria.
A farmer, Mr. Emmanuel Ekpo said, we are happy that our President Muhammadu Buhari has given us another good bridge. Before big trucks could not cross the old bridge, so when we get to one end of the bridge, we offload and use smaller vehicles to cross to the other end where another truck is waiting. It was hectic, time consuming and expensive.
Miss Blessing Okim, “We are so excited to have a new bridge with dual carriage way where commuters can travel freely and at night the ambiance is very beautiful because of the solar panel street lights.
“Besides, we had doubted that this bridge would be completed. Its completion did not take long and we are truly happy that this project was completed earlier than we thought.”
The representative of the Obong of Calabar, Etubom Edem Ita Ededem and another traditional ruler from Ikom local government area, Clement Agbor commended the president for keeping to his promise of a new bridge.
Agbor said, “it was a nightmare when big trucks get stuck on the bridge. We spend three or four days until the truck is offloaded. But, since the completion of the new bridge by this administration, we can pass any time we like.”
Also speaking through Dane Osim Asu, the Cross River State Commissioner for Worls, the governor, Professor Ben Ayade expressed profound gratitude to President Buhari for the completion of the bridge, which was one of 13 request made eight years ago.
He appealed, as a state, we need the Nigerian Government to implement its indigenization policy in the awards of road contracts. Secondly, the Ikom – Obudu ranch road, the Boki Danare road leading to the Republic of Cameroon border, which I put as a request before the Nigerian Government eight years ago and then nine are already done.
“This infrastructure translates to economic boom. There was a limitation with the old bridge and we witnessed it a lot of times. But with this new bridge whatever volume of products or goods passes through will be smoothly transiting; and then cost of transportation has been reduced, travel time reduced and during the construction of this project, the economy of the locals was enhanced,” he stated.
In a brief remark, the Federal Controller of Works in Cross River State, Mr. Kehinde Koya said the Nigerian Government was able to facilitate the construction of the new Ikom Bridge through Sukuk, a special initiative of the current administration to fund critical infrastructure development