In rural Gambia: Yardowners voiced concerns regarding unpaid compensation from Gov’t 

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By: Kebba Ansu Manneh 

Numerous property owners in Lower Saloum and Nianija have voiced their concerns regarding the government’s failure to pay compensation after the completion of rural road projects that were encroaching on their land.

They revealed to TAT that, since 2023, they have been pursuing compensation from the government authorities in charge of the rural roads project without success, despite some village yard owners having already received payment.

Sako Sowe, a native of Simbara Hai in the Lower Saloum District, is among nine other landowners who have not received payment since the project’s conclusion. Despite numerous consultations and communications with government officials, their compensation remains unpaid.

“I can tell you that at least nine of us in this village (Simbara Hai) are yet to receive our compensation from the National Roads Authority (NRA) since they completed work on the road. We gave them all our details and made lots of follow-ups, but since last year, we have been unable to get our compensation,” Sako Sowe, a victim, explained to TAT.

He added, “We are very concerned and want to know why we have not been paid because anytime we visit or call the NRA, they always tell us different stories. We want to call on the attention of the relevant authorities to intervene on our behalf and help us get compensation as all of us affected in this village are breadwinners of their families.”

He disclosed that those yet to receive their compensation in Simbara included Pa Camara, Babu Faal, Musa Jobe, Seringe Jallow, Essap Sowe, Lamin Sowe, Seedy Sowe, Pa Matarr Sowe, and himself, adding that some other Yardowners in their village have since gotten their compensation. Still, they are sidelined without any justification coming from the NRA.

Aladan Bah from Kayai in the Nianija District shared similar grievances about the lack of compensation for Yardowners in his community, indicating that those affected by the project are becoming increasingly frustrated and disillusioned due to the non-payment.

“Two of my properties have been affected. They paid for the one where I live, but they still need to pay for the shop where I live. Right now, I’m occupying a mud house, which is very insecure for my business,”

He added, “We are appealing to the authorities to help us get our compensation because it’s affecting our livelihood. Since last year, we have been going up and down with NRA, but to date, some of us have not received compensation.”

An anonymous resident of Jimbala in Lower Saloum shared a similar account, indicating that over five families have yet to receive their compensation despite numerous unsuccessful attempts with the National Roads Authority, the body accountable for such payments.

He informed TAT that most of those in Jimbala who have not yet received compensation are farmers whose income does not allow them to construct new homes. He emphasized that their plight is a matter of concern that the NRA must address earnestly by disbursing their compensation.

In a conversation with TAT, an official from the National Roads Authority confirmed that compensations have yet to be made. They assured that everyone who has not received their compensation will be paid appropriately as soon as government funds are available.

“We await allocation from the government, But all the necessary documentation has been carried out. I assure you they will be notified once it is released,” the official told TAT.

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