All Peoples Congress (APC) government of President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has been urged to take robust measures which would be geared towards ensuring that children and women are saved from the current terrible state of the Songo-Mabang highway, in Moyamba District, Southern Province of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
|Minister of Works, Housing and Infastructure- Hon. Kemoh Sesay: Robust measures are needed to ensure that children and women are saved
In an open letter late evening of yesterday Thursday 8th June, 2017, addressed to the current Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure, Hon. Kemoh Sesay; the writer named Ben Alpha Mansaray states that the collapse of the Mabang Bridge in February ,2013, has brought untold sufferings for the poor people plying through that route. He further stressed that the lives of people using the river are at stake, as the only ferry there is wreck, and that mostly women and children are presumed to be the most affected should any causality takes place. He commended the Honourable Member of Parliament of Constituency 084, Moyamba District, Hon. Amadu Kanu as the only MP who had to hire welders from either Waterloo or Freetown to work on the ferry.
|Member of Parliament of Constituency 084, Hon. Amadu Kanu: Is the only MP who had to hire welders from either Waterloo or Freetown to work on the ferry
In addition, the writer expressed fear, and pleaded that as the country heads into the months of heavy downpour of rains, he is calling on the Ministry of Works especially so the department responsible for the maintenance and repair of the ferry to step up their efforts and help them maintenance their scrapped ferry, whilst at the same time also appealing to the female Director General of Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) Ing. Memuna Kumba Jalloh that women traders are the most affected and that urgent attention is needed on focusing on the roads.
|DG of SLRA Ing. Memuna Kumba Jalloh: Urgent attention is needed to focus on the roads because women traders are the most affected
Meanwhile accompanying this update is the letter from a Moyamba descendant, as published below
OPEN LETTER TO THE MINISTER OF WORKS
A PLEA FROM THE PEOPLE OF MOYAMBA DISTRICT
The efforts of your ministry and by extension the government of his excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma in road construction has been massive and of tremendous importance in the livelihood of many Sierra Leoneans.
The commencement of the reconstruction of the Mabang Bridge will in no doubt serve as a relief to Sierra Leoneans in this part of the country. But in the meantime, while most of the country is enjoying good road network, we in the Moyamba District particularly so for us in Ribbi, Bumpeh, Kongbora and the other chiefdoms using the Songo-Mabang Highway, the situation has been terrible. In fact, as the rains are set to intensify, situation is heading to unbearable points. We are therefore calling on your ministry to rescue us from our current miseries.
The ferry that was brought to Mabang Vilage to help minimize our sufferings has had a break down since 9th of April when an unknown person used it at night and landed it wrecked according to the head of ferry operators. The alternative route at Masampa via mile 38 is very terrible at the moment and will worsen as the rains intensify.
The unavailability of the ferry has had some serious negative effects on our livelihood and risk of loosing lives as paddle canoes is the only means of crossing people and goods beyond Mabang river. Even though we are less than ninety (90km) away from freetown, we spent twice as much the amount spent by those living in faraway places like Bombali, Bo or even Kono.
The cost of travelling to Bauya in Kongbora Chiefdom is around Le 50,000 compare that to the cost of a government bus ticket (Le, 40,000) to Koidu Town which is three times faraway from freetown compared to Bauya. This has led to a serious increment in the prices of food stuff brought into the district from freetown and other parts of the country making life difficult. Travelling from freetown to Bauya, Rotifunk, or Bradford which used to last for not more than two hours now takes from four to five hours sometimes even more.
Our miseries started way back in February 2013 when the Mabang Bridge collapsed. The collapsed of the bridge brought untold sufferings for us plying through this route until months later when a ferry was brought to enable vehicles to be crossed over. The arrival of the ferry which also came along with some lapses helped a lot to minimize our sufferings. Light vehicles were ferried across at free of cost. Passengers can cross safely to the other end of the bridge free of cost at minimal risk.
However, we only enjoyed such intermittently. The ferry itself was not properly constructed. Even the jetty is situated at an inappropriate location. Sometimes travelers had to wait for hours for the water to reach at certain height before the ferry start to operate. As if that was not unfortunate enough, the ferry frequently breakdown. Sometimes it will take weeks before repairs are done leaving the lives of citizens especially women and children at risk using paddle canoes in almost all instances with live-jackets to cross with their goods. Sometimes drivers had to bear be cost of repairing minor faults on the ferry. On many occasions, the Hon member of Parliament of constituency 84 Hon. Amadu Kanu is the only MP who had to hire welders from either Waterloo or Freetown to work on the ferry.
So, as we head into the months of heavy downpour of rains, we are calling on your ministry especially so the department responsible for the maintenance and repair of the ferry to step up their efforts and help us as we await the completion of Mabang bridge in the next 24 months or more. While we applaud your ministry and the government for the commencement of the reconstruction of the Mabang Bridge, I feel honored to copy the current Gender Minister Hon.Dr.Sylvia Olayinka Blyden because she has, more than any other Minister, shown tremendous personal interest in this part of the country and I hope she can also help apply pressure to save my people especially women and children.
I want to also appeal to the FEMALE director general of SLRA that women traders are the most affected and urgent attention is needed.
MR. BEN ALPHA MANSARAY
CC: Hon Gender Minister
CC: Hon Amadu Kanu
CC: Director General, SLRA