The Gambian President Adama Barrow is set to embark on his annual “Meet the People Tour” today, Monday, November 18th, making his first stop in Fass Njagga Choi, Lower Nuimi District in North Bank Region (NBR) of the country. The tour is a yearly constitutional obligation of the office of the presidency in order to get first-hand information on how matters prevail across the country.
Ahead of this year’s tour, the people of Upper and Lower Nuimi are very much concerned about the 72 kilometer Hakalang road that stretches from Bunaidu to Kuntair connecting more than fifty communities around that region of the country.
Many residents who spoke to The Chronicle have expressed their disappointment in the endless promises from government regarding the construction of the Hakalang road, arguing that beside the gravel road constructed by former President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, no major work has been done on the road either by former President Yahya Jammeh or by current President Adama Barrow.
“If I have the opportunity to address the President’s meeting at Fass Njagga Choi, I will definitely appeal for his government to consider fixing this Hakalang road. President Barrow has promised to fix this road since his campaign times, but to date the same situation is what is prevailing and we would definitely need this road to be fix as promised,” Alkalo of Bakindik, Mustapha Jammeh disclosed.
Jammeh said the Hakalang road links more than fifty villages in and around Lower and Upper Nuimi, stressing that since independence appeals have been extended to the government to fix the road to no avail.
He revealed that parts of the Hakalang road is usually submerged by rainwaters thus depriving many motorists from plying the route for fear of damages that they may encounter with their vehicles during rainy seasons.
“What we are expecting from the President is not the usual promises of constructing the Hakalang road, but to tell us when will his government address this road,” said Bakary Keita of Bakindik Mandinka.
He added: “Imagine how stressful it could be when you have to rush a patient to the nearest major health center at Barra during the rainy season. This is one of the reasons why we would like the President to tell us when this work will be done after promising us many times now?”
Omar Manneh is a native of Bunaidu, he disclosed to The Chronicle that the government of President Adama Barrow should now consider building the Hakalang road. According to him, the construction of the Hakalang road will reduce health-related deaths, boost the tourism prospects of Juffureh and Albreda, and create job opportunities for youth and women within Lower and Upper Nuimi.
Saikou Mendy of Nuimi Nema Kunku in Upper Nuimi Constituency said the Gambian Government has been neglecting the Hakalang road for well over five decades, adding that though promises have been advanced by both Yahya Jammeh and Adama Barrow, so far nothing tangible has been achieved.
He called on the trials and tribulations encountered by women gardeners who find it difficult to get to markets to sell their products, adding that many women who deal with perishable goods take on losses in their business as a result of the poor state of the Hakalang road.
“I want to appeal to the President and his government to please help us address this Hakalang road once and for all. I am hoping that President Barrow this time will not only stop at the usual promises, but will tell us about when work will begin on the road”, Mendy told The Chronicle.
Gento Group Gambia, a construction company, had earlier been contracted to build the Hakalang road amidst suspicion and failure by the government to follow due processes of tendering the contract. Under the circumstances Gento Group Gambia was asked to suspend its work adding to the frustration and worries of the people residing around Lower and Upper Nuimi.
In a visit conducted by The Chronicle to the Headquarters of Gento Group Gambia construction site at Bunaidu, security manning the site declined to give access to reporters to inspect the facility, arguing that authority to such must come from their bosses.
“I want to appeal to President Barrow and his government to give approval to Gento Group Gambia to continue with its work on the Hakalang road. This company employs more than two hundred Gambian people,” said Amat Saine, a native of Fass Njagga Choi.