The Curse Of A River

News Introduction: 
Iyiocha River in Enugu State causes pain to residents of the city, leading to deaths and collapse of three bridges. - By Maurice Okafor

This is the third bridge to have collapsed, ostensibly as a result of the myths surrounding the river. The first was the bridge that links Trans Ekulu to the popular Polo Field. This happened about a decade ago, after the river mysteriously ate the foundation of the bridge leading to its collapse. A new bridge is presently under construction by the federal government. 
Iyiocha River, a slow but shallow flowing river that connects almost every part of Enugu metropolis and beyond. The river is believed to be associated with mystical forces, always inflicting pain on the people. The latest being that of the Abakpa bridge that links the thickly populated suburban centre to the heart of the city. The incident occurred in the night last Wednesday after a heavy down pour. Most civil servants and other public workers living in the area who were rushing to their places of working in the early hours of Thursday discovered that they had been cut off as a result of the collapse of the bridge. The state government had to quickly deploy pall-loaders to remove debris off the bridge and provide emergency road to connect people with other parts of the metropolis. The people however expressed gratitude to God that the incident happened late at night, which prevented any major disaster.
In 2007, the Iyaba Bridge constructed by the former governor of Enugu State, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani was closed form vehicular movement by the state government due to the effect of the river. The river was said to have eaten the foundation of the bridge, making it susceptible to collapse. Political opponents then accused the state government of engaging unqualified contractor to build the bridge. The bridge links Awkunanaw to other parts of Nkanu west local government area of Enugu State.     
Many lives have been lost in the river. Adults and children who swim in the river often drown. Residents of Enugu have attributed the destructive effects of the river to super natural forces. 
Despite the ugly incidents associated with the river, the Iyocha River serves the economic, domestic and agricultural needs of thousands of those living close to the river. Peasant farmers use water from the river to irrigate their farms. Vegetables and other seasonable crops are planted on its banks, making farming an all year round activity for people living near its banks. Iyiocha River also provides alternative source of water supply to the residents


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