A fire on Wednesday, March 23 2022, badly damaged Eko bridge in Lagos Nigeria, burning down dozens of shops. As one of the three major bridges in Lagos, the Eko bridge links the mainland area of the state to the upscale part of the city which is the island sitting between a lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean.
“The blaze gutted the Eko bridge. A section of the bridge at Apongbon in Ebute Ero was affected. The bridge has been physically damaged,” Ibrahim Farinloye of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) told AFP.
Under the Eko bridge are small shops and small businesses owned by people trying to make a living. With the incident, their source of livelihood is no more. “Lots of shops have gone,” Farinloye told AFP, adding that traders selling baking materials and ingredients were mostly affected. Farinloye said no one was hurt in the incident but due to the damage to the bridge, authorities would have to conduct tests to see if the flyover can reopen.
Some say the fire broke out as a result of the extended nationwide electricity shortage. Rukayat Balogun, a market leader, said a sudden surge of electricity caused the fire “We have not had light for six days. So when they brought the light around 2am, there was a spark that caused the fire,”
There has been nationwide power supply crisis coupled with increased cost of fuel, which is usually the available option for homes and businesses to use.
Recently, the former minister of power, now the Chief Executive Officer of Geometric Power, Prof Bartholomew Nnaji explained the possible reason for the current crisis saying: “The problem of ower supply in Nigeria is multi-faceted. In the power sector, we have generation, transmission and distribution. There are various issues along the value chain of power supply. There are issues of vandalism of gas pipelines which has grave effects on power generation.”
The former minister added: “The transmission infrastructure makes it difficult for power to be supplied and that’s a serious problem. Coming to distribution aspect, the infrastructure is dilapidated. There is also human factor problem on distribution such as connection inefficiencies, leakages, people stealing power, and al kinds of things done by people that make it difficult for efficient distribution, and also, the distribution companies themselves who are not investing in infrastructure which brings about inability to supply power”.