It appears the lifelong dream of the Peoples of Masimera and Marampa Chiefdoms especially those who are divinely separated by the Rokel River and who have always have it tough to go across this great River will surely breathe a sigh of relief sooner than later, if the untiring efforts of the Port Loko District Council are accorded the desired consideration by the Government of Sierra Leone.
REPORTS HASSAN BRUZ NORTHERN CORRESPONDENT
This is the perception of Chairman Ahmid Munirr Fofana who seems to be on oath that the age old Mamanso Ferry is replaced by a Modern Bridge with international standards. I was opportune to join him at his Port Loko District Council Office recently in my quest to know what is the response of Council to the repeated appeals of the inhabitants of these sister chiefdoms in the District.
Chairman Ahmid Munirr Fofana started with the horrifying history of the Ferry that dates way back in the colonial Era and how it has outlived its usefulness for several decades now. He said the Ferry is more of a death trap when the tide is high and is especially dangerous in the Rainy Season when the it is not operational due to high tide and rough weather.
He made mentioned of the countless number of School going Pupils, as well as the lots and lots of pregnant women and Lactating Mothers that have eventually perished by drowning in the search for either Education or Heath Services on either sides of the River. He said it is normally very difficult for these Communities to access Service Providers either in Health, Education or Agriculture so much so that Masimera is about the most deprived and under developed Chiefdom in the Northern District of Port Loko.
Of late, the Paramount Chiefs of the 2 Chiefdoms together with the Ward Councillors of the affected Areas, made a representation to the Council Chairman and prevailed on him for his immediate intervention. Consequently, Chairman Fofana engaged the Management of Geneses Farm- a Holland Based Agricultural None Governmental Organisations operating in these Chiefdoms, to look at the possibilities of salvaging the situation as a result of which several follow up meetings have since been held with other Development Partners that are experts in the construction of such a Bridge.
Chairman Ahmid Munirr Fofana told the Sierra Leone News Agency [SLENA] in an interview that he has also contacted Engineers from the Sierra Leone Roads Authority to initiate a feasibility Study as a parallel alternative for the realisation of the Project. He said Council is currently identifying Development Partners for the construction of a modern Bridge to replace the Age old Mamanso Ferry. He spoke of the meeting of Engineering Consultants from Holland together with those of the Ministries of Works and Infrastructure, as well as that of the Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security he facilitated in 2011 in which the proposals for the construction of the Bridge were discussed.
Chairman Fofana said, that meeting has encouraged him to develop a Memorandum of Understanding with the Team of Consultants Engineers from Holland and the Management of Genesis Farm as well as the Port Loko District Council in a bid to facilitate the feasibility and Technical Designs of the Bridge.
He said the Council has been able to convince the Management of Geneses Farm and its other Development Partners to undertake the feasibility Study and now making frantic appeals to the Sierra Leone Government to undertake the Project especially when the Development Partners in Holland now require the Sierra Leone Government to guarantee the Financial Commitments of Banks in Holland to fund the Project.
As in the case of Natives and most well meaning people in the District of Port Loko, Chairman Ahmid Munirr Fofana is of the firm conviction that the establishment of a Modern Bridge in replacement of the dilapidated Mamanso Ferry shall increase Economic and Social Development in the 2 Chiefdoms. He is of the firm belief that the Bridge will be able to connect both Masimera and Marampa Chiefdoms to the Southern Province of the Country through Mathourr along the Bo Highway. The Chairman said it will also enable the Geneses Farm and the few other None Governmental Organisations operating out there to access the lots and lots of Needy Communities awaiting service. He said it will as well go a long way in easing the Traffic Congestion especially towards the International Airport Town of Lungi from the Provinces adding that it will enhance easy access to investments in terms of Education, Health and Agriculture .
The Port Loko District Council Chairman went further to outline the funding of the Feasibility Study, the Preparation of the Bills of Quantity for the construction of the Bridge and the sourcing of Funds for the eventual implementation of the Project as some of the prevailing challenges in having it actualised. He therefore zeroed with an appeal to the Sierra Leone Government through the Works and Infrastructure Ministry to take ownership of the Project by providing the required Financial Guarantees for the Project to take off in earnest. You can now have a look at the Engineering Drawings and Designs of the stages of Project as portrayed by both the Resident Minister, North-Hon. Alie Badara Kamara and Chairman Fofana himself …..