Taraba bridge metals vandalised amid funding challenges

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Taraba bridge metals vandalised amid funding challenges

Driven by frustration and desperation, some Indigenes of Ibi community in Taraba State have embarked on the stripping of valuables made for the construction of Ibi Bridge, situated over the Benue River.

The project, aimed at enhancing educational and economic prospects in Taraba State was abandoned as a result of funding issues. The Guardian gathered that the project was first awarded to RCC Construction in 2020 by the Federal Government at a cost of N57 billion but it was faced with financial hurdles from the start.

Despite receiving mobilisation from the SUKUK loan, the contractor abandoned the site due to lack of additional funding. It was also learnt that efforts by National Assembly members from the state, like Senator Jimkuta David and Hon. Ayuba Zaku, representing Ibi/Wukari Federal constituency to resuscitate the project by securing additional funding from the 2024 budget failed.

The Guardian learnt metal scavengers from the town have taken over the construction site, stripping it of valuable iron materials, thereby compounding the project’s woes.

Community sources said the vandals are targeting the bridge pillars, using heavy equipment to demolish them and extract iron rods. According to sources, the criminal action is receiving tacit support from local stakeholders, including security agents.

“It will be difficult for the scavengers to be involved in such brazen vandalisation without communal support because of the commercial activities around the Ibi jetty,” the source said.

Some indigenes, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the brazen vandalisation of the iron may signal the end of the project, They blamed both the state and Federal Governments for failing to provide security for the abandoned bridge.

A senior security official, who pleaded anonymity, however, identified inadequate manpower in the council as a reason for the brazen stripping of the bridge by the criminals. He called on the authorities to act fast and stop the criminal acts as well as to mobilise contractors to site.

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