By Abdul Fonti –
The current development trend in the country across various sectors clearly indicates that the new direction government is on the right trajectory in fulfilling its manifesto promises. On the same vein, the Julius Maada Bio led Government of Sierra Leone is also delivering on failed promises and correcting utter neglect of previous governments.
While the current government’s scorecard in the fight against corruption, transparent and accountable leadership, education, healthcare, protection of women and girls, justice and the rule of law continues to enviably rank high, infrastructural development is also a key priority in the agenda and activities of the ‘talk and do’ government.
Projects for the operationalisation of new technical and higher education institutions, roads and bridges continue to feature prominently in the unprecedented new development trend.
The bridge project to effectively link Koinadugu District, through Nieni Chiefdom and Kono District, of which successive governments have promised and failed/neglected to undertake despite its economic, health and food security advantages, is speedily seeing the light of day under the development oriented government.
Just last weekend, the Deputy Minister of Justice, Umaru Napoleon Koroma was in his home district of Koinadugu to share the good news with his people that the Julius Maada Bio led Government of Sierra Leone has approved funds for the construction of the bridge that has waited from time in memorial to be constructed.
The project was included in the 2020 supplementary budget that was recently tabled and approved in parliament by the Minister of Finance.
Through the efforts of Napoleon Koroma and other stakeholders in the district, the cries of the citizens in that part of the country finally captured the attention of the less than three years old SLPP led administration.
According to the deputy minister, President Bio had first-hand experience of the sufferings of residents in that part of the country when he visited the communities during the 2018 election campaign.
The president, who was then opposition leader faithfully promised to construct the bridge linking Koinadugu through Yefi in the Nieni Chiefom with Kono.
The absence of the bridge in question has subjected the people in that part of he country to untold sufferings over the years, as it has been almost impossible to access healthcare facilities and engage in productive farming.
According to Napoleon Koroma, successive governments have promised and failed to look into the plights of the people in that part of the country. He therefore expressed appreciation to His Excellency the President for taking realistic steps in fulfilling an election promise to open up that part of the country to the rest of Sierra Leone.
He narrated how his people had relied on a deadly raft and hammock to go through the river to and from Koinadugu.
“Over the years, my people have been deprived of basic amenities including food, healthcare and even freedom of movement as a result of lack of road access,” he narrrated, while confirming that many residents had lost their lives while trying to navigate through the river.
The deputy minister explained how the Koinadugu residents in the over eighteen villages on the other side of the river have been deprived of facilities meant for the district over the years as the river had been serving as a cut off point.
Section Chief of Bagbafeh Chiefdom, Koyie Saysay Koroma, could not contain his happiness and praises for the President Bio led government, as according to him, the construction of the bridge will be a dream come true for his people.
He narrated how community people had been tasking each other to mobilise funds for the construction of the bridge.
While saluting the efforts of residents and indigenes for immensely contributing towards the project which led to the erection of pillars for the bridge, he conceded that such efforts were never enough to actualise the bridge dream.
He described the news for the approval of funds to finally construct the long awaited bridge as a breathe of fresh air that will liberate his people from sufferings.
“My people will no longer die of curable diseases because they will now have access to healthcare facility in Yefi whenever they fall ill after the construction of the bridge,” he said, while disclosing: “We used to transport pregnant women over twenty miles away to Yefi using hammock whenever they need healthcare intervention”.
He said all their agricultural produce in that part of the country which is of market value could not be judiciously utilised but left to rot as a result of poor road network. Residents expressed appreciation for the positive news as they eagerly look forward to the actualisation of the project