By Tabora Bojang
The acting project manager at the OIC Gambia Secretariat has said compensations for properties demolished during the construction of roads in the run up to 2022 heads of state and government summit is the responsibility of the Gambia government and not the secretariat.
Yaya Sanyang said this during a media field visit of a property assessment and valuation exercise conducted by the OIC in conjunction with the Department of Physical Planning and the National Roads Authority on Friday.
The exercise is to identify properties that will be affected by the expansion of 22km Bertil Harding Highway (Sting Corner to Yundum) into a dual carriage highway of four lanes and other identified 50km urban roads to be constructed in the Greater Banjul Area.
According to officials, 40 metres on either side of the Bertil Harding is required for its expansion, while a 14 metre space is required for the 20 new roads.
This means all properties considered to encroach the required space range are expected to be razed in the coming months to clear space for road.
But Sanyang said all those who “lost their properties by law” will receive monetary compensation.
“Everybody will be paid and [compensation] is going to be reasonable and adequate but structures that are illegally encroaching will have no right to compensation,” he explained.
OIC projects are financed by the Saudi Fund, the Kuwaiti Fund, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (Badea) for over US$80 million.
Asked if these funds will cover the compensation, Sanyang said: “The donors are not doing the compensation, they are only doing the civil works. Compensation is going to be borne by the government. That is why when properties are marked and evaluated by the Department of Physical Planning Lands and Survey in partnership with the NRA it is to be sent to the government for payment.”
He said such practice is in line with most donor projects where the financiers would only do the construction and civil works while compensation is paid by the state.
Tijan Darboe, a development officer from the Department of Physical Planning said: “Land use clearance has been issued to property owners outside the 40 metre buffer and anything within it will be demolished and there would be no compensation.”
Kebba Trawally, an engineer at the NRA said they had “warm receptions” from all the property owners whose structures have been earmarked for demolition during the exercise.
OIC head of communication Nfally Fadera said the secretariat is determined to carry out all the construction on time.
“We are doing this exercise to make sure we get a proper account of the properties and ensure the due process is followed.”
The 50km 20 new roads to be built are:
GPPC-New Jeshwang (Gacem Junction) – Jokor Junction; Kanifing Hospital – Bertil Harding (Methodist) Kanifing Estate Road; GPPC Road – Westfield (Jokor) – Abuko; Kotu – Nawec Link; Sukuta – Latrikunda Sabiji; Kololi Tavern – Bijilo – Brufut; Touba Manchaca Road – Kerr Serign – Sukuta; Bijilo – Sukuta Nemasu; Sukuta – Wullingkama – Brufut – Ghana Town; Junctionba – Hermann Gmeiner Road; Bijilo site access; Rev JC Faye; Sukuta Health Centre – Kololi Senegambia Road intersection; Bakoteh dump site – Manjai police; Bundung Highway; Kanifing Hospital – GTMI; Sheikh Zayeed Eye Hospital – Bertil Harding (Mass Kah); Kololi/Senegambia Road intersection – Touba Sanchaba Road; Kairaba Avenue (former IEC)- BJL\Serrekunda Highway (GTTI); Coastal Road (Zion Welding workshop)- Wullingkama Car park.