In line with his avowed mission and vision to develop and transform Sierra Leone, President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Thursday 26th September randomly conducted spot checks on the House of Parliament, the Hill-side Bye-pass road, Gloucester-Leicester road leading onto Kortright, Fourah Bay College.
In a brief chat with National Power Authority technicians who were on duty erecting new poles and power lines at strategic locations at Kortright, President Koroma was assured that electricity to the campus and staff quarters will resume over the weekend.
While inspecting already cleared sites along the road under construction, President Koroma registered concerns over the lack of regular water and electricity supplies to the institution, and neighbouring communities.
He therefore urged the ministries of Energy, Water Resources, Works, Housing and Infrastructure to return with basic social services to the learning community with immediate effect.
At Hill-Side Bye-Pass road, President Koroma expressed also concern over the delay in the construction of the road, and demanded answers from Mr. Alimamy P. Koroma, Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure. The minister informed that the delay was as a result of pending payments of compensations to property owners along the route.
Mr. Alimamy Koroma also noted that payment of compensations to property owners and resettlement formed part of the concerns raised by the people after the demolition of structures along the route under construction, and promised to work effectively after the rains.
Earlier, at Tower Hill, President Koroma observed that facilities within the working environment of lawmakers were in bad shape.
The Clerk of Parliament, Ibrahim S. Sesay informed the president that the rehabilitation of the structure was done by Chinese engineers, but has over the years deteriorated, and is now in dire need of refurbishment.
The situation, Sesay informed President Koroma, remains deplorable to the extent that whenever there is a proceeding, except seats were wrapped up in white cloth before Members of Parliament can start a debate.
He said though the Ministry of Works, Housing and Infrastructure (MWHI) is charged with the responsibility of conducting regular repairs on the building when required, a visiting delegation from the Peoples Republic of China had done needs assessment of the situation and have given feedbacks to the engineers back home, but the House is yet to hear from them.
The Clerk of Parliament also noted that the MWHI is responsible for the rehabilitation of the entire building, whilst the Sierra Leone Roads Authority is expected to do the road. Sesay called on the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, to come in and demarcate the land so as to stop illegal encroachments and grabbing that intimidate the house.
Alimamy P. Koroma said funds are not enough to embark on the rehabilitation of parliament, recalling that he had once been called by the house in respect of the issue.
He explained to MPs that there are not sufficient funds for the refurbishment of the building.
The Works Minister therefore solicited the support of President Koroma, saying “what has been provided is not sufficient to take care of parliament building.”
President Koroma also visited the chamber of parliament, and on seeing his former seat as Minority Leader could hardly help but maintained; “this was my seat when I was a member of parliament”, but now in a condition beyond recognition.
The Head of State further visited the cafeteria, walked round the structure, the lawn onto the grave side of both former Prime Minister Milton Margai and President Siaka Stevens.