Excitement as army builds bridge in ATBU
Students of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi State will soon heave a sigh of relief.
A new motorable bridge is being constructed for them to replace the pedestrian bridge destroyed by flood, which left in its wake three dead students and others seriously injured.
CAMPUSLIFE had reported that the metal bridge linking the students’ hostels and the lecture halls collapsed during a downpour on August 5.
Following that tragic incident, many concerned individuals, corporate bodies and government officers visited the institution on condolence visits, promising to do something about the bridge.
One of such visitors were men of the Nigerian Army. They promised to construct a motorable bridge for the university.
The Nigerian Army has kept to its promise of building the facility at the main campus in Gubi.
CAMPUSLIFE learnt the construction of the new bridge started on September 19. The facility is 30 metres long. Upon completion, it can withstand weight of about 60 tonnes, CAMPUSLIFE was told.
The bridge, which will serve as the only route between the students’hostel and their lecture rooms during the rainy season, is expected to be completed before the end of next month.
Although students just resumed for their second semester examination, CAMPUSLIFE, which visited the university last week, saw men of the Army Engineering Corps working frantically to ensure they meet the deadline.
Students praise army
In a WhatsApp chat with CAMPUSLIFE, a second year student of the Department of Animal Production, ATBU, Dennis Ishaya, lauded the collaboration between the management of ATBU and the Nigerian Army on the facility.
He said: ‘’I’m overwhelmed about the ongoing construction of a new bridge to replace the collapsed one, which claimed lives of our dear colleagues. I want to use this medium to thank the management of the school and those responsible for the action taken towards securing a more conducive learning environment for students in Gubi.
‘’Moreover, I pray that God in His infinite mercy will continue to direct the paths of the school management and all other bodies towards a better life on campus.’’
A 300-Level student of the Department of Chemical Engineering, Adam Mohammed, praised the Nigerian Army for the work in progress.
’We have to give kudos to the Nigerian Army for fulfilling her promise by building a standard bridge across the stream in which some students drown. This is a big relief for us; and we hope this will be a life saver when completed,‘’ Muhammed said.
Speaking with CAMPUSLIFE on phone, the Students’ Union (SU) President Naziru Mohammed, said his colleagues were quite excited about the new facility as well as the dedication of the officers at site.
Muhammed is hopeful that the new bridge would go a long way in making life a lot easier for students to access their lecture halls.
He said many of his colleagues, who returned to school after the semester break, were surprised to see that the construction was almost done.
‘’The students upon resuming were surprised to see that the construction is almost completed. We want to express our appreciation to the Nigerian Army for fulfilling their promise. In fact, until what happened to us (collapse of the pedestrian bridge),we didn’t know the Army too engage in construction, we thought they only fight wars. We are really excited about this development,’’ said Muhammed, a final year undergraduate of Animal Production, during a conversation on phone.
New bridge, a relief, says management
Meanwhile, ATBU Vice Chancellor, Prof Mohammad Abdullazeez has said the new motorable bridge would make it easier for students to access their lecture rooms.
‘’We want to thank the Nigerian Army for fulfilling their promise as they commence the construction of a new bridge,’’ he said.
He continued: “Initially, the bridge was pedestrian. Now what they are trying to construct is a permanent motorable bridge, any car or heavy duty vehicle can pass through.
‘’When you look at the distance between the academic areas and the hostels of the students, it takes about 23kilometres without the bridge. But by the time they finish the bridge, some will just spend about 400 metres to their academic centres.’’
All efforts to get the specific amount budgeted for the construction of the new motorable bridge proved abortive at the time of filing this report.