Michika: Kudzum Bridge Is Finally Motorable, Residents smiles Back to Business

What is the status of MICHIKA's electrification?
Michika: Kudzum Bridge Is Finally Motorable, Residents smiles Back to Business

When Boko Haram captured and occupied seven local government areas in Adamawa state in 2014, the military blew up Kudzum bridge, which connects Michika and Madagali local government areas to the rest of the state and neighbouring state, Borno, just two kilometres from Dilchim bridge, to prevent Boko Haram terrorists from crossing over close to Adamawa Central and the Southern Zone.

The two Local Government Areas of Michika and Madagali were cut off from Nigeria's land transport system as things stood.

Residents of the region have been targeted by Boko Haram due to its proximity to the Boko Haram-controlled Sambisa forest.

The fallen bridges at Kudzum, Dilchim, in Michika LGA, was the only remaining link between Michika/Madagali villages and other senatorial districts in Adamawa's Central and Southern Zones.

Commuters from the far northern axis have had to rely on a makeshift military bridge built at Kudzum to get to the Michika/Madagali axis since then.

Senator Binta Masi Garba and her colleague in the lower chamber of the National Assembly, Hon. Adamu Kamale, who stood in the gap between the communities and the Federal Government, swung into action to lobby for the government's quick intervention in repairing the bridges.

The National Assembly approved a resolution instructing the Federal Ministry of Works to build the three bridges, as well as NEMA to build temporary bridges to allow for free movement of people and the return of internally displaced persons to their homes inside the constituency. The project was granted to RHAS Nigeria Limited, a Lebanese company, at a cost of N20bn (Unconfirmed) in 2016.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that RHAS Nigeria Limited was paid over N1.2 billion for the rehabilitation of the Mararaba Mubi-Michika-Madagali road, which included the rehabilitation of the three bridges: Kudzum, Dilchim in Michika, and Wuro- Gayandi bridge in Madagali, less development was recorded.

Inspection of damage Kudzum Bridge at Section 26 + 500, Yola - Mubi Road, Adamawa State by Senator Binta Masi Garba, Engr. Yemi Oguntominiyi, Engr. M.R. Muhammad, Dr. Famous Eseduwo, Engr. Salihu A

On Sunday, August 26, 2018, Youths from the villages protested the poor condition of the restoration work and accosted officials from the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, who were in the region to assess the project's speed, urging the Federal Government to revoke the contract because of the  “incompetence" shown by RHAS Nigeria limited.

In November 2018, Adamu Kamale, who represents Michika/Madagali Federal Constituency in Borno State, filed a motion that led to the summoning of Mr Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing by the House of Representatives over a contractor's failure to reconstruct the Mararaba-Mubi-Michika-Madagali-Gwoza Road, which included the three bridges destroyed by Boko Haram at Kudzum, Delchimi, and Wurogyande.

Gertz Zheradin, the contract's Lebanese engineer, dismissed claims made by the constituency's legislators, claiming that RHAS Nigeria Limited has 20 years of construction experience in Nigeria's South-East and that the project is a large contract with an 18-month completion time, of which eight months had already been spent.

Only 10% has been achieved, according to Zheradin, because of delays in mobilization, rains hampering work progress, and insurgent incursions.

This had a negative impact on commercial activities in Michika, Madagali, and the surrounding areas, preventing grain exports since the inhabitants of the two villages are renowned for cultivating corn and selling it on a large scale to make money to meet their needs and other demands.

On the 12th of June 2019, new government representatives from the Northern Senatorial Zone came to power, Senator Ishaku Abbo of the Red Chamber and Zakariya Dauda Nyampa of the Green Chamber of the 9th Assembly (from the opposition Party), took a new approach to the situation on the ground, pushing for the contract to be revoked and re-awarded to Military Engineers.

Senator Ishaku Abbo, Representative of RHAS Nigeria Limited, and FMWH Representative during oversight function at the Kudzum Bridge in Michika

According to rumours, the bridge's inability to be completed significantly led to the incumbent legislatures being flooded out of office by newcomers through the ballot.

Coming on board, Senator Ishaku Abbo, representing the Adamawa Northern Senatorial District, has expressed displeasure with the substandard implementation of the Kudzum, Dilichim, and Shuwa, and has asked the Federal Government to cancel the contract granted for the repairs.

Abbo made it known when he led the officials from the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing (FMPW&H) in charge of the North-East to the site to check the progress of work.

The Senator, in November 2019, joined by Honorable Zakariya Dauda Nyampa, the Member representing Michika/Madagali Federal Constituency in the 9th Assembly, voiced unhappiness with the site's work and encouraged them to use the findings report.

Senator Ishaku Abbo and Honorable Zakariya Dauda Nyampa during an oversight function at the Kudzum Bridge in Michika

“Let me lay the background to this project, this work was awarded in 2017 and as we are all witnesses today, no appreciable progress has been made in the implementation, and let me say this specifically, this is not a personal project, it is a federal government project for work on roads that connect a larger part of the northeast, the northern part of Adamawa, Maiduguri and linking up to Cameroun,” He said.

According to the lawmaker,
“This road has been trailed with a lot of petitions demanding for the revocation of the contract and awarded to another contractor and specifically to the army engineering corps.

“The ministry of works swung into action giving the contractor a fourteen-day notice of revocation of the contract according to the law and the contractor replied asking for mercies and told the federal government to give them three months to justify their competence.

“As a result of which they came up with this time table of some specific plan of action on the three bridges at Kurzum, Dilchin and Wurongayandi on what they intended to deliver by 31st December 2019.”

Adamawa's three Senators at the Hon Babatunde Fashola's Office Lobbying for Repairs of Adamawa Roads and broken bridges

Despite not being satisfied, the Senator praised the contractors, he noted that he had seen the level of work today and compared to how it was in August, there has been some improvement but it has been sluggish.

In November 2020, Senator Ishaku Sponsored and presented a motion, “Urgent need to investigate the rehabilitation of Mararaba-Mubi-Michika-Bama Road Contract" to the Nigerian senate.

He told the Senate that;
“Alarmed that the security threat in the northeast, especially Adamawa and the Borno States, will likely create a situation of stalemate in the rehabilitation of Mararaba-Mubi-Michika-Bama road due to security threats, as the contractor, RHAS Nigeria Limited equally pointed out in a letter to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing sometime in 2018.

“Convinced that there is need to protect lives and property of citizens and also ensure meticulous use of public funds while providing infrastructure, there is need to revoke the contract for the rehabilitation of the Mararaba-Mubi-Michika-Bama road in Adamawa/Borno States and award it to Army Corps of Engineers that have the capacity to undertake the project amidst the present security challenges; and

“Further Convinced that awarding the contract to Army Corps of Engineers under the Ministry of Defence with a full military presence on site will facilitate speedy rehabilitation of the road, thereby improving economic and social lives of citizens while also paving way for transparency and accountability in expending public funds.”
Senator Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President, stated that the working committee will examine and determine why the project had been halted.

Senator Abbo Exchanging Pleasantries With the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan

Political Supremecy: Adamawa State Governor, Senator Abbo Bicker Over Road Projects!

While the Nigerian Senate was investigating the non-completion of the Mararaba, Mubi, and Michika Road Rehabilitation, a political conflict occurred between Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri and Senator Ishaku of the Adamawa North, the cause of which is still unknown to Adamawa citizens.

The project's success was said to have been hampered by a political dispute. Governor Fintiri was accused of abusing a number of resources available to him in order to thwart Senator Abbo's efforts to represent the constituency hit by insurgency activities and difficulty.

For quite some time, the two have been at odds over road and bridge construction, as well as electrical reconnection to the national power system.

Governor Ahmadu Fintiri Visits Kudzum bridge in Michika LG was destroyed by Boko Haram

Although the Senator has provided verifiable information regarding the steps he has followed and some degree of permissions, on his official Facebook Page, ensuring that the bridges and the electricity project would be a success. But that success was allegedly frustrated by Governor Fintiri who was accused of being good at "glory hunting".

Residents, travellers, and troubled Nigerians continue to voice their dissatisfaction with the status of the bridges, with repeated calls for President Muhammadu Buhari to terminate the contract and also with the feud between the two stakeholders in the state.

In a contest to win the project, the Adamawa State Governor was rumoured to have requested NEDC involvement over the sluggish pace of the work, predicted that the rebuilding would take 20 years because only N240 million was been up for it in the state budget for 2020.

Senator Ishaku Abbo was believed to be on his toes before the Governor's arrival, reaching out to several ministries, including campaigning for the road reconstruction contract to come from the Ministry of Agriculture and the that of the three bridges to be taken over by NEDC.

Commuters stranded at the Kudzum bridge in Michika LG was destroyed by Boko Haram

According to the Senator the project was initiated and awarded by President  Muhammadu Buhari in response to a resolution he introduced calling for the bridge to be rebuilt.

In his words Abbo noted;
“This is a Man since August 2019 has been doing everything possible to frustrate the completion of the work. I once sat with him in his office, all I discovered regarding the project is to frustrate the ongoing project by everything possible within his power and take the glory from the legislators who pushed harder to see that the bridge is rebuilt.”

He recalled visiting the bridge in 2019 and 2020 and moving a motion for the completion of the construction, as well as visiting the Minister of Works (state) with Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed Binani and Senator Binos Dauda Yaroe, and insisting that the work be completed.

On his part, Governor Fintiri stated that It will be prioritized since finance has been a stumbling block for the project, and the Adamawa State Government has asked NEDC's assistance with the bridges.

The Kudzum bridge, which spans six spans and connects Yola in central Adamawa to Madagali in the northern tip of the state, is the longest and most heavily damaged bridge on the Federal highway between Yola and Madagali. It was also the most heavily damaged by Boko Haram's destructive activities when the terrorists seized the northern part of Adamawa in 2014.

The question of who originated, followed up on, and executed the project is unimportant to the inhabitants of Michika and Madagali; what matters is that the project becoming a success, as the first bridge is completed. Though the political implications might be disastrous for everyone participating in the endeavour. Among the politicians engaged, political dominance still exists.

The bridge was officially opened on September 24th, and commerce is booming. On the remaining two bridges, work has progressed to the 80-90 per cent completion level according to an unconfirmed report.

The dedicated work on the bridges comes seven years after the bridges were damaged and after many Adamawa residents complained bitterly that the Federal Government's efforts to rebuild the bridges had failed to generate any results until the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) stepped in.

Drone view of the completed Kudzum Bridge Project by the Federal Government

The Chief Executive Officer of NEDC, Mohammed Alkali, who seems to have cleared a little dust, said his commission intervened with funding to move the Federal Government's efforts forward on the strategic access linkway in northern Adamawa. He was speaking at the commissioning of the completed bridge at Kudzum in the Michika local government area on September 24, 2021.

The Ministry of Works and Housing had asked the NEDC to seek cooperation to improve the condition of the zone's road infrastructure, according to Alkali.

When there is strong opposition, a government is considered to be on its best behaviour. As a result, Adamawa has undoubtedly seen a significant increase in development speed from both the federal and state governments in recent years, Kudos to all parties involved.

Drone view of the completed Kudzum Bridge Project by the Federal Government

Michika is progressively recovering strength as the fear and anxiety of insurgency invading has decreased, giving hope to returnees of a better and safer society, but the issue remains if Michika can be restored to its former glory.

Businesses are reviving, but for how long will they are able to do so without basic amenities, infrastructure, and unrestricted mobility?

What is the status of MICHIKA's electrification?

Drone view of the completed Kudzum Bridge Project by the Federal Government