Residents of Akyem Oda in the Birim Central Municipality have asked the government to stop lip service and empty promises and act on the death trap of a bridge and bad roads in the area.
The residents, made up of members of the Akyem Oda Concerned Citizens, transport operators, and all well-meaning citizens staged a mammoth demonstration last Friday to prevail on the government to reconstruct the bad roads and death-threatening bridge in the area.
The demonstrators, who were carrying placards with inscriptions such as ‘Is Akyem Oda not part of Ghana?’, ‘Senior Minister why?’, ‘MCE we deserve better,’ have vowed not to participate in the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections if the government fails to reconstruct their bridge and roads.
“We have been neglected for far too long as a people of Akyem Oda. Government officials just give us empty promises that the road and bridge have been awarded and a contractor will commence work next week, making next week a cliché on the lips of authorities,” they disclosed.
Speaking to the media, the Assistant Secretary of the Akyem Oda Concerned Citizens Association (AOCCA), organisers of the demonstration, said they decided to embark on the demonstration as another means of drumming home on the need for the bridge to be fixed, since the numerous press conferences and petition to the assembly had fallen on deaf ears.
According to Mr. Twumasi Frimpong Nana, his outfit, on May 10 this year, held a press conference to bring out the issues of the deplorable state of the jubilee bridge on the main Akyem Oda road that links the municipality to other parts of the country.
He continued that AOCCA’s encounter with the media was preceded by a petition to the Municipal Assembly on the matter under discussion.
“It is sad to note that since maintenance works were done on the bridge in 2014, when part of the bridge almost collapsed, this same part that was worked on is on the verge of fully collapsing, which forced the Ghana Highway Authority to close that side of the bridge from vehicular use,” he underscored.
The AOCCA Assistant Secretary mentioned that the state of the bridge almost caused a loss of lives on Saturday June 16, 2018, when a tipper truck with registration number GT-7528-15 full of sand fell off the bridge.
This, according to him, was because the usable side of the bridge is currently too narrow, hence the decision by the Ghana Highway Authority to close it.
It was further reveled that on July 14, 2018, there was another accident involving a Kia truck on the same bridge.
Mr. Frimpong indicated that after several reports of the inconveniences users of the bridge go through in their daily activities came to its notice, AOCCA decided to hold a series of meetings with the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of the area on the issue.
He stated that it was through the encounter with the MCE that it came to light that funds for the rehabilitation work on the bridge had been released from the Ghana Road Fund Department of the Ministry of Roads and Highways.
The MCE, Mr. Kwabena Bempong, then directed the association to crosscheck his claim with the head of the Ghana Highway Authority in the municipality, which assertion was confirmed.
However, the head of the Municipal office of the Ghana Highway Authority averred that paperwork on the bridge had been forwarded to the regional office for onward submission to head office for approval and direction.
Not even the contribution of a certain Asante Bediako, a citizen of the area, according to information, donated 100 bags of cement, two trips of sand, two trips of chippings and a ton of iron rods to the Municipal Assembly some two months ago, could move the authorities to reconstruct the bridge.
However, for some unexplained reasons, the bridge has still not been touched, leaving motorists and users in grave danger.
The demonstrators, who were dressed in black and red attire to drum home their seriousness, started the peaceful demonstration from the location of the bridge, through some principal streets of the municipality, before finally presenting their petition to the MCE.
They have threatened to take the law into their hands if the government fails to react to their demands and petition by blocking access to the bridge.
“We are, therefore, with this petition, calling on government and all stakeholders involved to ensure that the bridge is reconstructed within two weeks, as well as reconstruction of the bad roads in the area.”