By State House Communication Unit
President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma returned to Freetown on Thursday 31 December after successfully completing his four day visit to Kabala, Koinadugu district.
The President was accompanied by his daughter, Ms. Dankay Koroma, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Minister of Health and Sanitation, the Minister of State – North, the deputy Minister of Tourism, the deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, the deputy Minister of Youth Affairs, the deputy Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure, the Chairman of NATCOM, the Ambassador of Sierra Leone to the United Arab Emirates, the deputy Ambassador of Sierra Leone to China, and several other senior government officials hailing from the district. The delegation arrived in the district headquarter town of Kabala on the evening of Monday 28 December.
Whilst in Koinadugu, he turned the sod for the construction of a bridge linking Bintumani communities, commissioned the Kabala Clock Tower and central Mosque, inspected the APC office in Kabala and a school in Yagala, Wara Wara Yagala Chiefdom as well as the commissioning of a newly constructed Court Barray in Kanuka, also in Wara Wara Yagala Chiefdom.
Addressing a mammoth crowd during the sod turning ceremony in Momoria Badala, 40 miles off Kabala, President Koroma thanked the people of Koinadugu for their efforts and support towards the project and for ending the Ebola epidemic.
He said the Bintumani Bridge project is a national project that will benefit 22 surrounding communities, provide access to markets, schools, promote agriculture, access to clinics and will enhance economic activities across the country. He informed that the Bintumani peak is the highest in West Africa which he said Sierra Leoneans must work together to promote both local and international tourism. This is a gift to the country, he said, noting that exploring potential tourist sites will only be enhanced after the construction of the bridge.
He registered government’s determination to see the project through while commending the efforts of the finance minister. He also urged the community to take local ownership and renewed spirit in monitoring the implementation of development programmes across the country.
The president stated that the post Ebola recovery programme is geared toward strengthening agriculture, the health sector, education, survivors and to bring back the economy on its feet. The community and the local authorities must take leadership in any project implemented in their communities. “We must ensure that work is done and make sure the resources allocated for any development project is reflected on the implementation of the project,” he stressed
He furthered that government will continue to engage communities and will start on the spot visits to districts and chiefdoms.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development Dr Kelfala Marah who is the brain behind the project said the presence of President Koroma is a light to ‘Bridging Bintumani Community’. He informed that there are non Sierra Leoneans involved in the project saying that the construction of the road leading to the project site was done through collaborative efforts from himself, Salini construction company and other organisations and individuals. He expressed thanks to all for this great effort and emphasized the fact that community engagement and involvement is central to the success of the project.
Dr Marah underscored the significance of bridging the Baffin-Bagbe rivers, adding that President Koroma as champion of infrastructure has done more than any other leader in the infrastructural development of Sierra Leone.
In a related development, President Koroma expressed satisfaction with the development projects indigenes of Koinadugu are unleashing in the district. He thanked NATCOM chairman Momoh Konte for his efforts in the transformation of the district. He also commended the people of Koinadugu for the spirit of collaboration and healthy competition and encouraged others to emulate such examples in an effort to develop the district.
Momoh Konte described the ongoing competition among stakeholders to contribute to the development of their district as positive competition and went on to inform of the arrival of dozens of solar lights to light up the Clock Tower area all in a bid to compliment government’s efforts.