By Ada Dikeh
According to reports, the Ndi Ebe Abam Bridge was first constructed on May 7, 1960. But on August 1, 1984, it collapsed when a caterpillar tried to pass through it and the weight gave in. It was reconstructed on August 24, 1984 through the combined efforts of Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (rtd), a cousin to Chief O. O. Awah, retired Deputy Director of Nigerian Customs Service.
It collapsed again around 2.30pm on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, when a 25-tons-11 tipper conveying gravel to a building site in Ndi Ebe Abam tried to pass through it. Fortunately, no one died during the collapse.
The bridge is located in Ndi Ebe Abam, one of the four most populous communities in Abam Onyerubi in Arochukwu LGA of Abia State.
Ndi Ebe Abam is housing many governmental projects like the Anambra-Imo River Basin Authority, Rice/Irrigation Project, as well as World Bank. The bridge links Ndi Ebe Abam to the outside world, through the bridge, Ndi Ebe Abam gets access to other Abam communities (26 in numbers). It also links Ndi Ebe to Bende, Umuahia and the world at large. The bridge is also a link between the world to Ndi Ebe, Abiriba and Amuru Abam, as well as over 20 equally industrious settlements (plantations/clans).
The reaction of the community is that of despair, anguish and hopelessness. Especially when it happened, those that drove out for their businesses could not drive back in, and some were forced to drive back to where they are coming from, some were forced to sleep outside, because it rained and the river (Igwu River) overflowed and was yet to recede.
It has greatly paralyzed business activities like those traders, palm oil producers, teachers, etc cannot even go about their businesses anymore, because there is even no canoe to ferry people across, because Abam people are not used to ferries/canoes.
The major reaction from the villages elders and chiefs is, how to go about reconstructing it, because we are hopelessly helpless as we are totally neglected by the government and we do not know who and how they will come to our aid.
Source: Ndi Ebe Abam Facebook wall.