Social

Tension mounts in Jomoro over bad roads

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Residents of Jomoro in the Western Region are up in arms over bad roads in the municipality.

They say contractors working on the Samanye Barrier to Jaway Wharf road have abandoned the project since 2020, without any word to the communities and municipal assembly.

They said in October 2020, the road was cleared for a sod-cutting ceremony for the start of work but the contractors had since left the site with their equipment.

The residents have consequently appealed to the government to act immediately to avert a total collapse of the economy of the municipality.

Currently the road is in a deplorable state, resulting in a normal 30-minute travel distance from Half-Assini to Samanye Barrier taking two-and-a-half hours, leading to increases in prices of goods and services as well as increased transport fares in the municipality.

Residents and motorists said they would continue to stage demonstrations until the contractors returned to site.

Already, a series of protests and roadblocks have been lined up.

The Samanye Barrier-Jaway Wharf road aside, the contractors were also to construct 108.8 km of other internal roads in the municipality, and work was expected to be started immediately and completed within 30 months.

Situation
Speaking to the Daily Graphic after a tour of the road, the leader of the Western Nzema Youth League, Dr Patrick Ekye Kwesie, said the government had failed the people of Jomoro.

“At present, when it rains here, our people have to wade through the mud to their destinations on foot, vehicles get stuck and in the dry season, the communities and the municipality would receive heavy clouds of dust, causing various respiratory and other health complications,” he said.

The harrowing experience of commuters and drivers from Samenye through to the municipal capital, Half Assini, and Newtown, which borders Cote d’Ivoire in the Jomoro Municipality, he said, was unacceptable.

The municipality, he said, was one of the areas very rich in agriculture; however, at present it was an uphill task to transport agricultural products to markets outside the municipality.

“I must say one of the new gold in addition to our numerous potential is tourism and I can report that it is falling — the beaches along the municipal coastline are so inviting and receive many visitors, but the road is a great disincentive to them.

“If we have to add value to these resources by attracting investors, the government must focus on ensuring that social infrastructure and other amenities are in place — a good road network plays a key role here,” the youth leader emphasised.

The leader of the Western Nzema Youth League said there was growing despondency among the youth and the indigenes in Jomoro and its environs.

“We have realised that the discovery of oil and gas has not translated to any form of development; we feel neglected despite our contribution to the municipal, regional and national economy,” he added.

The municipality
When contacted, the Municipal Chief Executive, Louisa Iris Arde, acknowledged the challenge of the drivers and stated that the assembly was following up on the contractor through the Office of the Regional Minister.

The municipality, the MCE said, was fraught with serious disaffection and a series of demonstrations and roadblocks, and the youth would not listen to anybody.

“I must say that we are doing everything possible to ensure that we engage them and update them.

There are a series of roadblocks pending as the aggrieved drivers and residents vowed not to relent, but we are sending a petition to the high office to seek answers for the people.”

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