Ndongo Bridge Collapsed, Exposing Buea Council’s Negligence

Feb 18, 2024

By Elad Franklin
There has never been a month that Buea Council workers have not crossed the bridge connecting Ndongo neighborhood to the rest of the city to tax people.
They coughed out money, but were careless in returning it to invest in the basic infrastructure that the Ndongo population needs.
Recently, the main bridge that links the neighborhood to other parts of Buea collapsed, plundering traders into hardship.
The bridge was old and dilapidated and obviously needed maintenance, which the Buea Council never looked into.
With the area cut off, citizens started voicing their descending voices against the institutions that tax them but care less about their wellbeing.
The 23-year-old bridge, now in rubles, has prompted locals to ban heavy-duty vehicles from accessing it. The recent collapse happened because a truck transporting sand stepped on it.
This has caused inhabitants to pass through the stream before reaching home or going out, which is dangerous for sick and pregnant women.
“The council is never present in Ndongo, and we didn’t know if this part of the quarter is in Buea or Limbe; we find the council or municipal police in Ndongo only when they want to collect taxes and close shops,” said a man called Mbah who lives in the neighborhood. He could be seen, among others, struggling to arrange the rubles for cars to pass the day after the collapse.
“Before the collapse, the bridge had a crack on the two edges four months ago by the same 30-ton truck, and we noticed the council for the crack, but nothing was done about it,” he added.
With the council turning a blind eye, they tried and even installed a raingate just before the bridge, but corruption saw it being removed each time a truck approached.
“We had to manage until last Saturday when we lost the bridge, which really made it hard for emergency cases and pregnant women to access the road. So it was with this light that some of the youths of Ndongo rallied and volunteered to fix the bridge in patchwork, just for emergency cases for the sick, students, and pregnant women to have easy access to the road.” Mbah added.
Even though they have managed a passage, many of them are still worried that it might collapse or sink into the river because it was not properly manned.
They are pleading that the council look into their situation rather than remembering them only during tax collection.