…content with relocation plan
By Mohamed Massaquoi
Paramount Chief of Koya Chiefdom, P.C. Bai Kompa Bomboli II, titular chiefs and residents of Kortobana village and its environs are in consensus that the construction of the Mamamah airport would bring great benefit to both the current generation and children yet unborn, thus expressing his fullest commitment to the commencement of the project.
Chief Bomboli, speaking at a meeting recently held at the Kortobana village court barray, expressed optimism that the project would help improve the living standard of his subjects.
Project Director of the new airport, Molai Buya Kamara and media liaison officer, Pa-Santigi Bangura were in that community to engage the people on the relocation and resettlement plans for communities residing very close to the proposed airport.
It is estimated that sixty-three (63) villages will be relocated with residents concerned that their houses have been earmarked for demolition ahead of the beginning of construction work on the new airport project without proper arrangement.
However, the traditional ruler and his subjects acknowledged that the construction of the airport in their community would avail to them great benefits, describing it as “welcomed news” as it would open their community to investments and socio-economic development projects, which would in turn provide employment opportunities for their children.
“This is not a project that will disadvantage us as community people, it will help improve Koya chiefdom and the country as a whole. I have come as Paramount Chief to ask you a favour for a plot of land so that our brothers on the other side where the airport is to be located will come and stay with you here.
“However, I am sure all modalities will be put in place for peaceful coexistence. I have been assured by the Airport Management Committee that everything will be good for us,” he said, adding that it will be an historic milestone for the Mamamah Airport to be constructed during his tenure as Paramount Chief.
During the meeting, head men from nearby communities discussed the request of the Paramount Chief for the relocation of communities that will be affected by the construction.
Chief Ibrahim B. Kamara said that according to traditional believes and customs all the lands and the people belong to the Paramount Chief, and that they feel blessed that the chief travelled from the chiefdom headquarters to their village to ask for a plot of land.
“This is very unique as Paramount Chief of this land [to have traveled here to ask us for a plot of land]. We are very much committed to whatever request made for the development of our community. All chiefs and land owning families have agreed for the resettlement of our brothers to this community. We are now very anxious to know when the relocation process will commence because we know that our chief will not bring anything that will be disadvantageous to us,” Kamara said on behalf of his colleagues, adding that they were pleased with the process and urged government to put mechanisms in place for a speedy start of the project.
Meanwhile, Mr. Buya Kamara thanked the chief and his subjects for their commitment to and support for the project.
He said a lot of research was done to ascertain the location of the new airport and that engineers resolved that it would be best at the Mamamah community, noting that a lot of efforts have been put into the process to ensure proper planning and implementation.
“A lot of people do ask as to when we will finally start the work, but I want to assure you that we are strongly working. The relocation of people is very key to the process and that is why we came here to engage all of you as a community. We are happy that our request has been accepted, we will now go ahead with our relocation plan,” he said, adding that engineers will this week visit the said communities to demarcate the area where people are to be relocated.