Scores of Landowners in Nianija, Central River Region (CRR), have expressed concern regarding the failure of The Gambia Government to pay them compensation after the demolition of their properties in the ongoing Rural Roads Construction Project.
Residents said relatives and neighbors currently shelter most of the families affected as the rainy season draws nearer, noting that the failure of the government to pay the agreed compensation left them in a state of despair as farmers who have no resources to build new accommodations for their families.
According to the sources that spoke TAT, seven (7) villages were affected by the ongoing Rural Roads Construction Project: Kayai Village, Ceesay Kunda, Sinchu Tafsir, Ngeden Village, Sinchu Demba, Mbayen Burama and Kerr Jebel Village.
Residents say at least six of 10 compounds have been affected in each village and have yet to receive compensation from the Government of The Gambia for various damages incurred.
“We are very concerned and worried that the government is still holding our compensation without paying us for damages due to ongoing road construction. Government officials came here before Ramadan and promised to pay, but since then, we haven’t heard anything from them,” a victim and Kayai Village resident Alasan Bah told TAT.
He added: “We are calling on the relevant authorities to intervene on our behalf to get compensation to build houses for our families living with other relatives and neighbors. But, unfortunately, although most of us affected are farmers, we do not have money to fix the damages, especially since the rainy season is fast approaching when we must concentrate on our farms.”
Abdourahman Bah, another victim in Kayai Village, affirmed the views of Alasan Bah, confirming that no one in the village has been compensated even though they were assured of speedy payment by government officials, saying the government should be sympathetic to their situation as farmers and come to their aid to develop new accommodation for their families before the rainy season.
“We lost an entire building that used to house my father, myself, my stepmother, my wife, and children, but currently, we are all occupying one house that used to be our guest house. Our situation is no different from the other six compounds affected; some are in other people’s compounds as I speak,” Abdourahman Bah told TAT.
He added: “Our village Mosque has also been demolished in the ongoing road construction, and villagers were assured of compensation, but no effort has been made to build one for us. Therefore, we are appealing to the President and all relevant authorities sympathetic to our concern to help us get compensation. We have done everything possible but to no avail.”