It is certainly good news to residents of Awka who shuttle between the Okpuno area and the main Awka Town, that a pedestrian bridge will be constructed at the busy Regina Caeli, Junction, Awka. These people daily risk their lives attempting to cross the express road and enter the other part of Awka Town. In doing this, they first dash across one half of the express road and then will have to contend with crossing the deep gutter in the middle of the road. They do this by stepping into it and then literally crawling out of it. After they manage to crawl out, they then risk another dash across the second half of the express road to safety.
It is obvious that this is fraught with danger as speeding vehicles can crush these people at any point in time.
Anambra governor, Willie Obiano, disclosed plans to build the bridge recently at the opening of Roban Stores in Awka. He said the project which will begin this November, would be completed in January next year.
Fides once wrote in an editorial how important it was for government to construct a pedestrian bridge across Regina Caeli Junction. We had argued that given the distant location of the pedestrian bridge at Unizik Temporary Site Junction, it would be too much to ask the public to go down from Regina Junction to that place to make use of that pedestrian bridge.
That was why we called on the state government to consider constructing another such bridge at the popular Regina Junction.
We are happy to note that the state government has eventually deemed it necessary to construct a pedestrian bridge there and we thank the government for that. Putting up a bridge there will surely help prevent accidents which often occur there.
However, we have noticed that even where such bridges exist, many people still prefer to dash across the road which they consider quicker. This is unacceptable. An example is the pedestrian bridge at Unizik Temporary Site Junction. In an attempt to ignore the bridge and use the road, the iron railing initially put up to demarcate both sides of the express road has since been destroyed by those crossing the road. This is bad.
We urge the government to therefore come out with measures to restrain people from using the road instead of the pedestrian bridge. Such measures should include arresting defaulters and surcharging them.
Also, pedestrian bridges are purely for people who use them to cross the road. They are not places where all manner of people huddle up to either do business or to beg. Because of the crowded nature of such places, criminals often mingle with the crowd to snatch people's mobile phones or their bags.
To guard against this, one of the various agencies formed by the state government should deploy their officials to such bridges to ensure that only those using them to cross the road are seen there. There should be no loitering or waiting. Everyone should be moving so that criminally minded ones can easily be spotted and arrested.
Lights should also be mounted on our pedestrian bridges to beef up security there. No measure put up for the good of the citizenry should be considered too costly, for, after all, governance is all about the people.
As we look forward to the flag off and commissioning of the bridge, we once more commend the governor for listening to the voice of reason.