A coalition of residents living on the stretch of the Yagaba-Mankarigu road in the North East and Savanna regions came together Thursday to protest against the bad roads there.
They are demanding the immediate completion of the road which links the two districts of Mamprugu Mogduri and the North Gonja to the rest of the country.
The protesters included pregnant women and the aged, some of whom were carried on motorcycles and bicycles throughout the protest which lasted nearly an hour.
The residents under the coalition name ‘Mamprugu and North Gonja Youth for Development’ trekked several kilometres from their communities to a particular spot of the road at Kubori where they addressed the press.
They called on government to pay attention to them and improve their living conditions.
The Yagaba-Mankarigu road is a 23km major highway which also connects the two districts to the Upper East Region through Fumbisi and Sandema and the Northern Region through the Kumbungu district.
According to documents seen by JoyNews, the contract agreement for construction of the road was reached in August 2016 to a construction firm known as TASS KALIA Enterprise headed by the Yagaba-Kubori MP, Ibrahim Amadu Tanko.
It was expected to be completed in August 2017, the documents indicate, however, the construction has since stalled.
Addressing the press in a middle portion of the road, spokesperson of the Mamprugu and North Gonja Youth for Development, Seidu Damba Abdulai Keita said, their protest was triggered by government’s selective decision to award a portion of the road to a new contractor for which works were ongoing.
According to him, government has neglected a major portion of the abandoned road only to rearward a few stretch towards the North Gonja district to a new contractor, MAWUMS construction firm, who is currently busily on site.
He added that residents in the area are living in constant fear and panic due to the current nature of the road which gives criminals the advantage to consistently attack and rob traders and other road users of their valuables.
Seidu Damba revealed further that, residents are also unable to access health care services at the nearest referral facilities in Sandema and Walewale as well as other public services due to the deplorable state of the road.
The group in stating their position has, therefore, issued ultimatums to the contractor, the Regional Highways Department and the Roads Ministry to complete the project before the onset of the rains.
According to the group, failure to get the project done by then will be met with massive demonstrations and outright refusal for politicians to come to the constituency to campaign for elections.
The group is also demanding government terminates the contract agreement with the MP’s construction firm and investigate him for hoarding of contracts during the period his party was in power.
When JoyNews contacted Ibrahim Tanko for his comments, he responded that the NPP government has deliberately refused to pay him for earlier work done.
He also accused his opponent and Parliament candidate of the NPP, Mustapha Ussif, who doubles as the Chief Executive of the National Service Secretariat, of being behind the protest over the road.
He promised that work will resume as soon as government releases funds for works done so far by his firm.