September 28, 2022

The splitting apart of a bridge in the chiefdom headquarters of Bumpeh Ngao has made it difficult for President Julius Maada Bio to go to his hometown of Tihun, Sogbeni. The bridge links Mattru Jong in Bonthe district to Bo, the southern capital.

The collapse has rendered vehicular and human traffic impossible.  Townsmen and villagers who do daily transactions in Bo city now finds it difficult. They have to wait a bit until the bridge is fixed, or they risk to trod on rough and rugged trains.

The services of commercial motorists will be employed amid high and exploitative fares. Using canoes to go across the collapsed bridge is also difficult. The President will have to use dangerous crossing points at Sumbuya or go through the distant town of Taiama to go to his hometown.

Dug-out canoes and rickety boats  with outboard machines  are often used to ferry motor cycles and passengers on either side of the dry land. Such has been hindered since the bridge is no more. The bridge is one of the oldest and the longest bridges in the country.

It has worn and torn owing to age compounded by the lack of maintenance culture. Signs of the bridge splitting apart has shown for too long, but no one cares not even the local authorities. They fail to raise an alarm to invite government’s attention to their plight.

Faced with such a misfortune, the people of the south has turned to government for solace and comfort.  It is not clear when work would commence on the bridge. Former Inspector-General of Police, Ambrose Michael  Sovula and local authorities were spotted at the scene of the collapsed bridge apparently for an assessment.

The road between Bo and Mattru is key, but littered with old bridges which makes it unsafe for vehicles and passengers. Despite Bio’s promise of massive infrastructural improvement, the road still remains in its appalling state.

The road was a topmost priority in all of Bio’s campaign messages and public speeches. In 2018, President  Bio promised to fix the road alongside its bridges when he was campaigning four years ago. In his augural address, construction of the road also featured prominently.

The road to Mattru was also mentioned in Bio’s maiden address to parliamentarians in 2018. Owing to emphasis placed on the road, it is expected that President Bio ought to have done the road by this time. It is a big disappointment for the people of the south as only a small portion of the road has been tarred between Bo and Torwama where one of the campuses of Njala University is located. Even the main road to Bio’s birthplace is still muddy.

Until the bridge is returned to its normal state, the people will have to struggle a lot especially in the face of heavy downpours.