Barely four months after an iron pedestrian bridge collapsed killing 3 students at the Gubi Permanent Campus of the Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa University (ATBU), the Military through its Engineering Corps has reconstructed the bridge making it a standard one that can take up to 70 tons weight at a time.
While commissioning the bridge on Monday, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai stated that the action taken by the Nigerian Army is part of its social responsibility to the community.
The COAS who was represented by the Corps Commander Armour Corps, Bauchi, Major General James Akomolafe added that the new bridge is designed to handle students traffic to and from the Academic zone of the university.
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He then tasked the university community particularly the students to use the new bridge to embark on academic researches in different fields in order to keep the memories of the three students who lost their lives during the unfortunate incidence last August.
Tukur Buratai then charged the management of the university to ensure that the bridge was put to proper use and maintained adequately so that it will last long.
In his speech, the GOC 3 Division, Major General, Nuhu Angbazo said that on the receipt of the sad news of the incidence, the COAS directed the Division to immediately mobilise the Engineering Corps of the Nigerian Army to see to the reconstruction of the collapsed bridge.
Nuhu Angbazo commended officers and men of the Engineering Corps for a job well done assuring that the Nigerian Army will continue to embark on social responsibilities to the communities it is serving across the country.
Earlier speaking, the Vice-Chancellor of the ATBU, Professor Mohammed Abdulazeez thanked the COAS and the Nigerian Army for coming to the aide of the university by reconstructing the bridge making it a more standard one.
The VC lamented that “in our sorrow and dire need, we ran to different corporate organisations to seek assistance that will guarantee that this sort of mishap will never happen again in the University. Niger and all over the world wept with us in sympathy. Several visitations of public-spirited Nigerians trooped to Bauchi to commiserate with us and showed us solidarity”.
He added that “in all of the sympathy and condolences we received, one organisation took its demonstration of love one step further. In all our wildest imagination, nobody in this community ever thought that help will come from the Nigerian Army. With the challenging state of our country’s internal security and the fact that our Army is stretch to its limit, it was a pleasant surprise when they offered to build for us, a standard bridge to replace the collapsed one”.
In his brief, the Commander, 43 Engineering Brigade, Brigadier General I. F Briggs explained that the bridge was designed to contain not less than 60 tons of weight at a time assuring that all things being equal the bridge will last for the next ten years before any major Maintainance is carried out.
It will be recalled that on August 5th this year, tragedy struck when an iron built bridge linking the students’ hotels to the Academic area of the university collapsed killing three students and injuring many. During a conference visit to the University, the COAS, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai promised to reconstruct the bridge to a better standard.
All the students who spoke on the new bridge commended the gesture of the COAS and the Nigerian Army, in general, saying that if other well-meaning Nigerians and those in authority can emulate such a kind gesture, Nigeria will be better off.