June 7, 2021
By Yusufu S. Bangura
Residents at Red Pump Community, Western Freetown have expressed serious concern over the deplorable condition of the roads that linked their community with Wilberforce, Hill Station, and Tengbeh town, respectively.
Many who spoke to this medium said successive governments have failed to fix the roads, which have been lying in ruins for several years.
From observation, the roads appear bumpy, stony, and dusty, coupled with galloping potholes which make it difficult to ply it. In the raining season the roads become muddy and very hard to ply for both vehicles and human, while during the dries they become very dusty and rocky.
Red Pump is one of the slum communities in the Western Area Urban of Freetown and have over 10,000 inhabitants, who are mostly workers, petty traders and students.
The community, which is separated by a small stream, is situated off King Harman Road and it is intersected by Riverside Drive and Cantonment Road-a Road side garage littered with scores of outdated vehicles.
Aminata Coker is a business woman who resides in the community. She told Concord Times that she plies the road on a daily basis to buy goods at Dove Cut market, central Freetown, but have been grappling with a lot of challenges to access transportation as many vehicles shy away from plying the rout.
She said they are always aske to high transport fares by the few motorists who ply the route.
The road is not frequented by most commercial vehicles as they fear that their vehicles will develop mechanical fault due to the many potholes.
Coker said apart from the deplorable state of the road network, their community also lack pure drinking water.
“Whenever I want to go to Dove Cut market, I first think of the constraint. Commercial motor drivers usually drop us at the King Harman Road junction. We have to walk to get to Red pump or we use keke, which cost us a lot of money,” she said.
She called on the government and Non-Governmental Organisations to help fix the roads, and provide them with pure drinking water.
She added that it was the responsibility of the government to fix all roads, and provide them with pure drinking water.
Although, it is naturally endowed with two major sources of water usually accessed by surrounding communities during acute shortages of water, its misery has been the worsening condition of the road.
Motorist especially motorbikes often charged exorbitantly-maybe as a security for any damage the road might cause them.
Alusine S. Bangura, a commercial motorbike rider, who usually transport people to Red Pump, said they are afraid to use the road because the road is seriously in bad shape.
He said most times they charge passengers exorbitantly because their tyres got destroyed whenever it slumps into potholes.
Also, Lansana Bangura, a commercial motor driver who plies Red Pump and Tengbeh town said the deplorable condition of the road is considerably affecting their work.
He said most times they refuse not to enter into the community with passengers especially during the raining season when the road got damaged through erosion.
The Red Pump settlement is of immense socio-economic significance.The offices of many NGOs including Christian Relief Services, Plan International, WHO, Concern Worldwide, Cematt International and Ministry of Health, are all located at the Red Pump axis.
Thus, the interventions of these entities might not necessarily involve road maintenance but the significant of their operations requires that their efforts should be complemented by the improvement of the road which can directly benefit the community.