On Saturday, August 19th, 2023, the inhabitants of Sirigu, a community within the Kassena Nankana West District of the Upper East Region, took to the streets in a peaceful yet resolute demonstration. The purpose of their protest was to demand swift action to repair a crucial bridge that has fallen into disrepair, adversely affecting their lives and businesses. For a distressing span of four years, the residents have grappled with the deteriorating state of the bridge, which has imposed significant obstacles on their daily routines and economic activities.
Carrying placards with messages such as “Fix Our Bridge, Save Our Lives!” and “Isolated for Four Years, Enough is Enough!”, the demonstrators articulated their inability to tolerate further the hardships stemming from the dilapidated bridge.
In an address, Eden Akurugu, the Secretary to the Paramount Chief of Sirigu, highlighted the bridge’s pivotal role as a lifeline for the community. This vital artery has traditionally connected the locality to essential resources like healthcare facilities, markets, and educational institutions. “Regrettably, the current state of the bridge prevents us from accessing these vital services. Pregnant women’s struggles to cross for healthcare are heartbreaking. Over the years, the bridge’s deterioration has eroded our access to these essential amenities,” Akurigu lamented.
Several residents, who also seized the opportunity to speak with the media during the demonstration, shared harrowing accounts of medical emergencies that tragically unfolded due to delayed access to healthcare facilities.
Two months after the demonstration, authorities have still not attended to the bridge. This is according to Eden Akurugu, the secretary to the Paramount Chief of Sirigu. He spoke to Mark Smith on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show today, Tuesday, October 31, 2023. Mr. Akurugu, again recounting the processes leading up to the demonstration, explained that the community, led by its chief, Naba Rolan Akwara II, had gone through all the necessary processes, including meeting the Roads Minister to get the bridge fixed, but nothing had been done; as such, the demonstration had to be held. “People are dying. When pregnant women are referred from Sirigu to Bolga, they get a miscarriage on the way. So many people have fallen into that hole, and many lives have been lost. On August 19, we decided to go out and cry out to the world.” “Up till now, we have heard nothing,” he lamented.
Mr. Akurugu alleged that when the divisional chiefs, after the demonstration, went to meet the Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu, about the bridge, Mr. Yakubu intimated that while the chiefs and residents were constantly seeking attention for the bridge to be fixed, the community members were not sympathetic to the cause of the NPP during elections.
It remains unclear the purpose of the supposed statement.
Meanwhile, Mr. Akurugu continued to demand that attention be paid to the reconstruction of the bridge.
Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana