By Oumie Bojang & Awa Macalo
Compound owners whose properties were marked to make way for the construction one of the OIC roads in New Jeshwang on Thursday met OIC and National Roads Authority officials on how the planned demolition and compensation would be carried out. The yard owners, some of whom could lose most of their compound, want to know when the compensations would take effect.
One of them, Sheikh Tijan Jarju, said the issue is very serious because some of them are bound to lose everything and any delay in compensation means they would have to relocate or sleep in the streets since they cannot afford new homes anywhere.
He said while the New Jeshwang community is excited about this new road project they did not want it to come at very expensive cost and tears to them.
He urged the government and stakeholders to prioritise their plight and help resolve their matter quickly.
Ndella Drammeh, another resident, said: “I was born and raised in the same compound with my siblings for 43 years and this is our only compound. We have no other land anywhere. The space we are losing to the demolition will leave us virtually homeless and even the very thought of it has already caused us a nightmare”.
Addressing the matter in an interview, Essa Bokar Sey, Deputy Chief Executive Officer OIC, said it is a collection of feelings that he is processing with the team.
“If you engage the people, you know their plight and that is much better than sitting in your office and imagining for them. Meeting them is something that motivates me more to understand the magnitude and the importance of this project. That’s why we are here”, he said.
He said the compensation part of it is important in that as much as this is a national development, you cannot just throw someone out on the streets and tell them you’re building a road. “That is contradictory to what sense asked for. What I want to reassure them is I have already whispered in the ear of the National Assembly member Sheriff Sarr and also my team Mr. Nfally Fadera, Kebba Trawally, Kawsu Ceesay, Manneh, Tijan Darboe the stakeholders from NRA, Ministry of Works, Ministry of Lands & Physical Planning we will create a WhatsApp group to be called the ‘compensation group’. We are going to the National Assembly and we will sit with the ministry of finance to discuss the issue and find a way forward,” Mr Sey said.