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In Sierra Leone, President Koroma Commissions Bo-Masiaka Highway
By Foday Fofana in Bo
Jun 4, 2010, 17:06
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Sierra Leone's leading development partners, the European Union were the recipients of very lavish praises from H.E President Ernest Bai Koroma at the official commissioning of the 16kms reconstructed Masiaka - Bo highway last Saturday.

Emphasizing the vision of the Head of State, the Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure, Hon. Alimamy Petito Koroma said "the entire Sierra Leone is presently a construction site attacking all the major roads in the country. It is the first time in the history of Sierra Leone and thanks to H.E's vision that this country is being transformed into the envy of any developing country.. We are not only concentrating on trunk roads but feeder roads around the country with EU and SLRA support."

Cross section of dignitaries at the ceremony

The bustling minister recalled the sleepless nights he had as President Koroma would pursue him every other day, to know how the Masiaka - Bo highway was going. He was full of praises for the European Union, the Board of Directors of the SLRA for the team work, the partners - Salini Construction for a job very well done.

After P.C Alimamy Kompa Bomboli has expressed gratefulness and satisfaction over the project, the Hon. Abubakarr Koroma in his welcome address described the occasion as "a very big day in the history of Koya chiefdom. Mr. President, my people say they are extremely happy and profoundly grateful for your "Agenda for change'; particularly our road, Bumbuna Hydro Electric Project, the choosing of Koya for solar energy project and the under 5 free medicine as Masiaka will soon be a city in its own pride right".

One of the International Dignitaries making a statement

HON. JACOB KOROMA'S PAPA'S LAND

The Hon. MP for Koya and Masimera, Jacob Koroma lamented on the backwardness for far too long of his communities, especially Masimera which was ostracized and totally for donkey years as all the goodies; schools and health centres went to Lunsar.

"Now I want for the first time and with the help of government, the President in particular, to project Masimera to stop the predators and get our freedom to free our papa's land because until now we were in political enslavement.

The Bo-Masiaka Highway

The road consultants were very proud of the dedicated technical input and expertise given to this job to facilitate international travel in West Africa at large and Liberia and Guinea in particular, with the journey time more than halved with no express need for luxury four wheel drive vehicles.

ALL-WEATHER ROUTE

The Bo - Masiaka highway is an all - weather route with adequate footpaths and safety barriers. The SLRA says safe travel is a right for all with a maximum of 80kms/hour speed limit; noting it is very important to have consideration for other road users.

The Director General of SLRA, Mr. Munda Rogers described President Ernest Bai Koroma as a focused, dedicated, sincere and honest leader.

Traditional chiefs, SALCOST Management and SLRA officials

"But mind you; he calls you to book anytime he gives you a job to do. Patience, justness, courage and generosity was what our major partners, the EU demonstrate right through this project and long before when they fought tooth and nail to open up this country after the war. The unique thing about the EU is you have a problem, you sit down with them, discuss and find the solution to the way forward;" the SLRA ace engineer and boss reiterated.

The Board Chairman dilated on "the very happy moment This particular one being exceptional as it has impacted on the socio-economic life of Sierra Leone.

Mr. Munda Rogers, the Director-General of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA)

Mr. President, you will only succeed with your infrastructural focus and Agenda for Change as well as your total loyalty to the National Roads Network Plan. It is left with us users now to look after this road like we take care of our babies."

FINANCE & NAO

Mr. Ibrahim Soriba Kanu, deputizing the Ministry of Finance and the National Authorizing Office (NAO), highlighted the role of the EU in Sierra Leone's development efforts. "This road is a strong bacon of EU - Sierra Leone relations under the Cotonou Accord to the tune of 42.6 million pounds. This magnificent road is the result of good and close cooperation between all partners and stakeholders This road, the Trans-West Africa highway which automatically links Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia is multi-dimensional locally and sub-regionally and regionally to promote trade and regional integration as espoused in government policy on economic partnership."

PRESO KOROMA RAPS

President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma in his keynote address recalled when in September, 2007 "it was not easy for us to identify because anywhere you touch in this country at that time was rotten and in urgent need for emergency solutions. It was not easy to get the donor community to accept our Agenda for Change, but after talking and persuading we understood one another and we were accepted The results you have started seeing right now."

One of the Bosses of the SALCOST Construction company that completed the road after many years of diligent, hard work

He said it is government policy to do things upside down. "As a priority, we believe this is the only way out to lay the basis for sustainable growth in Sierra Leone as there can be no development without electricity, roads, improved agricultural production to the level of self sufficiency and above all a healthy and educated nation. I feel extremely happy and proud today because even the blind man will appreciate this un-bumpy road."

QUALITY WORK

The Head of State maintained his love for quality work. "I don't accept a road just because it had been completed. The contractors of the Lunsar - Makeni road were lucky I was not president by then because I would have made them re-do that road all over again. My sincere thanks to the EU who were not happy when we assumed power because the Freetown - Conakry highway went to the quitters. But finally they grasped the fact that it was not of our making at all and that we only wanted to right the wrongs as a responsible and development oriented government."President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma last Saturday evening invited the opposition SLPP to join him work together to develop Sierra Leone for all Sierra Leoneans, regardless of region, tribe, religion or political affiliation, as this is not politics time but time for work.

Addressing a large crowd of Bo city residents in a down pour of rain at the Central Park on the occasion of the official commissioning of the Bo-Kenema highway from the other end, the Head of State said his government encountered some difficulties with contractors and land owners with whom we had to retreat to the sacred bush 'Gbanika' to sort things out."

DETERMINATION & COMMITMENT

It was not a smooth sail either with Sierra Leone's biggest donor - the European Union.

"Even though the Freetown-Conakry highway was be-dogged with problems, we sat down with them and discussed heart to heart and the road project is ongoing in full gear, to be commissioned next year; just like the Bo - Bandajuma, Makeni - Kabala, Bandajuma - Liberia, Songo - Moyamba, Moyamba junction - Moyamba, Matotoka - Koidu etc," President Koroma disclosed.

He forced tears of joy from the crowds when he called upon a certain Madam Jalloh and instructed her there and then that arrangements are completed with Salini Construction Company to tar all the roads in the city starting now.

"Our government is a government of infrastructure and the entire Sierra Leone being our works yard, to connect all towns we won't rest until we can drive safely to Koindu, Yiffin and Krubola in the Koinadugu District as this country is an inner and outer circle.

Therefore we transform intensions into actions and we will complete all what we have started", President Koroma told the deafeningly applauding crowds of Bo

The Goderich - Lumley, Imatt, Wilkinson Road, Grafton, Lungi - Port Loko have no cause for worry.

President Koroma implored all to accept this new road with responsibility and that this was why he established a new Roads fund to maintenance roads, address feeder roads construction.

"I prefer a good sails feeder road to a bad 50 miles. I can become overbearing at times because I'm in a hurry to develop this country and our time is certainly not endless; all the reason why we need to fast track development. I'm glad the ministry, SLRA, land owners, District Councils etc. all worked extremely hard on this project as they will do in all the other projects.

H.E TO I.G, ROAD USERS

Dressed in jeans and sports wear, the smiling, charming, charismatic Sierra Leone leader appealed to drivers, road users and the police in these terms: "You drivers should not fellow the sweetness of this road. Respect traffic signs and speed limits. For you the police, stay vigilant. In case of accidents caused by over speeding take prompt action against overloading, taking passengers in back booths, smooth tyres etc. I've told the I.G I would want to see all hands on deck by all the high command or else the LUC Masiaka will be held responsible your duty is to protect lives and property and maintain as prescribed, law and order".

POLICY STATEMENT

I.G Brima Acha Kamara told reporters "this is a policy statement which I'll give priority; all commanders have been called to order I appeal to SLRA to provide us with 2 vehicles for 24 hrs patrol to help us address this issue.. we've held National Workshops with the drivers' unions; our Masiaka - Waterloo Patrol vehicles have helped tremendously reduce reckless driving, overloading and other offences on which the laws are very clear: caught on the spot defaulting, you are fined or sent to court to defend yourself."

CREDIT: FODAY FOFANA IN BO


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