Motorists and residents in Bagudo Local Government Area of Kebbi State have commended the Federal Government for reconstructing the Tuga Bridge that links Nigeria with the Republics of Benin and Niger.
According to reports, the Tuga bridge was washed away by a flood in 2020, cutting off Bagudo LGA from the rest of the state.
A driver, Umar Muhammad, expressed relief over the restoration of the bridge saying that motorists had faced untold hardship since the bridge was destroyed.
He said: “When the bridge was destroyed by flood in 2020, we were thrown into confusion and hopelessness as it had affected links with our business partners in the state and those in Niger and Benin Republics.
“Many of us depend on the bridge to transport goods and passengers and fend for our families, so when it was cut off, our means of livelihood was cut off too.
“Three drivers who attempted to cross the river using makeshift bridge lost their lives,” Muhammad told NAN on Wednesday.
Mr Muhammad commended the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA for restoring the bridge.
Another resident of Tuga, Aliyu Muhammad, said that the collapse of the bridge had crippled social and economic activities in the area.
“Relationship with our brothers and sisters in communities on the other side of the bridge was severely affected, we thank FERMA and all those who contributed to ensure the restoration of the bridge,” he added.
The Village Head of Tuga, Muhammad Tuga, also commended FERMA for the quality work, and expressed optimism that the economy of the area will bounce back.
Mr Tuga said: “You all know that the road and bridge are our means of reaching our business partners and to some extent relatives in the two neighboring countries.
“The reconstruction of the bridge has raised our hopes that things will return to normal,” he said.
The village head therefore advised motorists to drive safely and abide by traffic rules as business in the area resumes.
The Chairman of Bagudo Local Government, Muhammad Kaura, lauded the agency for completing the project on time.
Speaking with newsmen, a FERMA engineer, Rilwanu Usman, noted that the 21 kilometre road served as a major economic route between Nigeria and the Republics of Niger and Benin.
Mr Usman revealed that the Managing Director of the agency, Nuraddeen Rafindadi, facilitated the release of funds for the project in December 2020, adding that three culverts were later constructed within the river space in order to enhance the water passage and protect the embankment against future floods.
He said: “Between January and February we were able to restore the carriageway for, at least, motorists to access Tuga for onward journeys to neighboring countries.
“We reinforced it with concrete retaining walls of about 300 meters in length to protect the embankment; we have been able to restore the carriageway to its original standard,” Usman said.
Mr Usman commended the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu for his support and constant monitoring of the project as well as the National Assembly members from the area and chairman of the local council who supported FERMA immensely.