His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has commissioned the newly constructed Mabang bridge across the Ribbi River, reviving major commercial activities and reconnecting Koya Chiefdom in Port Loko, northwest, and Ribbi Chiefdom in Moyamba, south, after 9 years.
“I would like to start with a minute of silence for the departed souls of people who have died crossing the Ribbi River since 2013 when the bridge collapsed with a truck. May the souls of the faithful departed rest in perfect peace.
“The immense financial lossess, when citizens have lost their goods and possessions; when boats capsized in the currents of the Ribbi are truly regrettable,” he noted, adding that the bridge opening to the public was ending many years of using dug-out canoes as the means of crossing and accessing other towns and villages in that part of the country.
“It is in that spirit that I want to thank the European Union that has provided finances and worked very closely with my Government. As has been indicated, my Government paid compensation of hundreds of thousands of dollars to striking workers, provided billions of Leones worth of duty-free waivers, provided security at work site, and the right leadership and work environment to deliver this project.
“This is the spirit of cooperation between my Government and the European Union that is transforming infrastructure, communities, and lives. Coming at a time when there is a seeming petering away of international development assistance, Sierra Leone truly appreciates this intervention from the European Union,” he concluded.
Director of the National Authorising Office, Ambrose James, gave a background to the major infrastructural development, describing the event as a huge milestone in the history of the country.
“This is a manifestation of President Bio’s wish to deliver for his people,” he noted, adding that he was grateful for the conducive working environment and political will to ensure the completion of the bridge.
EU Deputy Head of Delegation, Juan Antonio Frutos, emphasised that they had a longstanding, committed and reliable political and development partner in Sierra Leone that was encouraging and supporting the consolidation and progress on peace, stability, democracy, governance and human rights in the country.
“Please allow me to express my gratitude once more to all who have helped build this bridge. I am grateful to witness today that His Excellency the President will commission this EU-funded bridge to the people.
“Together with its ‘sister’ in Magbele, this bridge is part of a package of road infrastructure projects that Sierra Leone and the European Union intend to round off before the 2023 rainy season. Other key parts of that road infrastructure package are the road links from Moyamba Town to Moyamba Junction and from Bandajuma to the Liberian border,” he ended.