By Keifa Mohamed Jaward, Communications Specialist, SLRA
The Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) has paid compensation to 256 Property Affected Persons (PAPs) along the Bandajuma-Liberia border Road corridor.
The compensation payment was done on Friday, March 4, 2022 at the Fairo Community Centre in Pujehun District.
The Reconstruction of Bandajuma-MRU Bridge and Road Project is part of the Trans-West Africa Highway project that seeks to ease the movements of people and facilitate trade within and beyond the Mano River Union countries. It is funded by the European Union and the Government of Sierra Leone.
Before the payment started, the Director of Operations Management who doubles as the Project Manager, Ing. Alfred Jalil Momodu, reminded stakeholders of the affected communities that the Right-of-Way belongs to SLRA and that the institution can utilise the land reserve anytime it wants to reconstruct roads across the country.
“Any person that has a permanent structure or plantations within the demarcated road corridor should always be willing to give up his/her properties for road development purposes,” he emphasised.
Ing. Momodu explained that the compensation payments were not the actual market value of the properties, but are consolation packages to enable the affected persons to move off the road corridor without major shock to their livelihoods.
The Chiefdom Speaker of Sorogbema Chiefdom in Pujehun District, Chief Augustine Zoker, dilated on the relevance of the road project to the livelihood of communities in the District.
Chief Zoker recounted that most of their relatives and development partners found it very difficult to access their communities when the roads were deplorable, and the residents had to spend a lot of money and time to travel to bigger cities like Bo and Kenema.
He encouraged the PAPs to receive their compensations in good faith and corporate with SLRA for the construction works to continue.
The scope of the project includes the reconstruction of 105km road that spans from Bandajuma to Liberia border and three major bridges across the Sewa, Wanjeh and Moa rivers.
Since the project started in 2016, the SLRA has paid more than SLL6 Billion in compensation to over 1000 PAPs along the Bandajuma-MRU Road corridor.
The recent compensation payments was expected to be final payments to PAPs for the project. It was done in the presence of representatives from the Anti-Corruption Commission, Audit Service Sierra Leone, Civil Society and the media.
The project is scheduled to be completed this year.