Some of the protestors with their spokesperson Mr. Alonso J. Turker
Aggrieved residents from Weala, Margibi County, demanding damages from Chinese International Construction Company or CICO have besieged several public offices in Kakata, halting government functions.
At least 100 of the more than 1200 aggrieved Weala residents decrying damage to their homes as a result of explosion from heavy duty equipment being used by the company to pave the road from Monrovia to Gbarnga, Bong County this week staged a blockage at several government offices in the county, preventing employees from entering in an attempt get the authorities’ attention to their plight.
The protestors carried placards that read, “The cracked houses issue in Weala must be addressed properly”; “Get concerned Hon. Buway; our tears are dropping due to properties damaged.” “Mr. Corruption, aaah Mr. Corruption, please let our government officials work for us.”
“CICO, ACICO pay for our damaged houses; Hon. Tarr Sackie, remember your back ground, remember your people in Weala, your sisters and your brothers are homeless.” They erected blockage to the offices of Margibi County Superintendent John Z. Buway at the Ministry of Internal Affairs offices in the county. The MIA building supplies power to other government ministries and agencies.
Some government offices that were affected include Ministries of Internal Affairs, Education, Lands, Mines and Energy, the 13th Judicial Circuit Court, and the Margibi Service Center, among others. Our reporter who visited the administrative ground said many persons who went at the offices of Superintendent Buway left unsuccessfully, complaining.
Speaking to this paper on Tuesday this week, Supt. Buway, who claimed to have received news of the protest through his security, said he was only going to inform his bosses at the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Monrovia as well as the Ministry of Labor which has been intervening in the matter.
He also said the peaceful protest at his office halted normal activities in the county, adding that the rest of the ministries and agencies, including the court depend on the Ministry of Internal Affairs for electricity to function but they were unable to do their work due to lack of power as a result of the protest.
The aggrieved Weala Residents are demanding about US$1.5 million in damages from the CICO Management, a campaign they embarked upon since 2012. In an interview with reporters at the administrative building in Kakata on 28 June, the spokesperson for the residents, Alonso J. Turker explained that they besieged the offices of the superintendent to let him know they have not found any resolution to their problem.
Mr. Turker said the protest at the Superintendent’s offices, which halted gov’t’s functions in the county for the day, will sound a bell to the authorities on the need to look into their concerns.
Mr. Turker: “We are talking about our just benefit; as you may be aware that for the past three years we been engaging the issue. CICO cracked our houses from the blasting and as I speak to you right now, there are about six or seven houses that are completely down because of the blasting and you know as the time goes it increases. As I speak to you right now, more houses are dropping. We are talking about direct payment because we’ve been engaging the issue on round table. Now you are talking about 1,329 people that have been victimized.”
He said despite several discussions held with CICO, local and central government on their concerns, there has been no positive response, so this time around, they decided to go before the county’s seat to raise the level of consciousness.
Meanwhile, report received by this paper says a high-level government delegation headed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs has met with the aggrieved residents regarding their demand.
By Ramsey N. Singbeh, Jr. in Margibi-Editing by Jonathan Browne