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Residents Demand Name Change for Songo Toll Gate

September 7, 2017 By Joseph S. Margai 

resident
Makoloh Village Head Osman Sesay
gate
has urged a change of name for the Songo Toll Gate

Village head of Makoloh, Osman Sesay, has called on government to change the name from Songo Toll Gate to Makoloh Toll Gate so as to retain the identity of the village where the gate is situated.

Headman Sesay, who was speaking to Concord Times last Saturday at Makoloh village, contended that the current name should be ‘Makoloh Toll Gate’, after the village where it is located.

He explained that his call for a change was predicated on the fact that residents of the tiny settlement lost houses and crops to give way to the road and the toll gate.

“I personally surrendered my piece of land for the construction of the toll road, toll camp and toll gate. Even though it was done in the interest of the country and the people, we [Makoloh residents] should have been recognized,” he said. “This was a deliberate attempt by the government and the Chinese contractors to hide the identity of Makoloh village. Songo is miles away from Makoloh village and the people there did not contribute anything to the construction of the toll road.”

Acording to him, just over few weeks after the name Songo was written on the toll gate, passengers and drivers now refer to the village as Songo instead of Makoloh, adding “so our village’s identity has lost.”

He added: “If government insists on using the name Songo for the toll gate, we wouldn’t mind if it could be named Makoloh/Songo Toll Gate. Songo is our sister village and we are not against them in anyway, but we don’t want to lose the identity of our village.”

He told our reporter they have lodged a complaint with the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) and China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG) Country Director but nothing has been done to address their plight.

Quizzed as to what their reaction would be if government fails to do as they demand, Headman Sesay said they have a parliamentary representative whom they hope will continue to advocate on their behalf.

However, Member of Parliament (MP) representing Constituency 57, where Makoloh village is situated, Hon. Abu Bakarr S.A.T. Koroma, said residents of the village didn’t raise the issue before they toll gate was named after Songo, despite several meetings with them.

“All of them were compensated and nobody said the name of the toll gate should be Makoloh Toll Gate. After the work has been completed they are now calling on government to change the name. But I will take their concern to the concerned authorities and I will later get on to them and inform them about any further development,” he promised.

On his part, Public Relations Officer of Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA), Sorie Ibrahim Kanu, confirmed they have received a letter from residents of Makoloh village demanding for change of name for the Songo Toll Gate.

He said the SLRA has instructed the construction company – China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG) – to change the name.

“It was an error and we took note of it but we want them to continue to exercise patience as plans are underway to address their concern soonest,” he said

 

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