Airport road repair may dislodge households

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[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] As the engineers brace their tools to kick start the rehabilitation work on the road linking Muduria roundabouts to Juba International Airport (JIA) in harmony with the gubernatorial directives, a significant number of households likely to be affected with no hope of compensation as the torrential rainy season intensify.

[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] As the engineers brace their tools to kick start the rehabilitation work on the road linking Muduria roundabouts to Juba International Airport (JIA) in harmony with the gubernatorial directives, a significant number of households likely to be affected with no hope of compensation as the torrential rainy season intensify.

Then again, with the current ambitious proposed expansion of the airport road, approximately, hundreds of households would probably be dislodged from their homes within 90 days of the project implementation.

This latest development surfaced on Monday as the Governor of Jubek State, Augustino Jadallah Wani, visited the bridge opposite Crown Hotel, to acquaint himself with the situation facing the residents living along the airport road.

Speaking to the media, Jubek State Minister of Physical Infrastructure, Engineer Francis Swaka said the state government was compelled to set up plans to dislodge what he termed as illegal occupants of the area adjacent to the airport street to pave way for rehabilitation work.

Engineer Swaka pointed a blaming finger at the previous state administration for allotting plots to the public in the lowland areas, saying the dwellers blocked the waterways causing floods.

“The previous administration allowed this place to the people to inhabit it. Those people built on the roads, blocking the waterways and causing flooding in the area. The town planning authorities shouldn’t give plots to people in the lowland area,” said Swaka.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Mayor for Infrastructure and Development, Thiik Thiik Mayardit, threatened to demolish any structure built on the road, challenging the occupants to showcase their documents of eligibility.

“I am here today according to the instruction of His Excellency the governor and I am here with my minister of the physical infrastructure to assess the site. So, what you have asked concerning the Crown Hotel, of course; the Crown Hotel had been built on the place which is not even its place. It is actually a place for the airport. But the people who sold this place would be ones to be responsible for the damages to be inflicted. So, any part of the Crown Hotel that falls on the road even if it means part of the building, will be brought down,” he said.

In an exclusive interview, one of the inhabitants who sought anonymity said her husband settled in the area since 1965, disputing the claims that they illegally inhabited the area.

“I doubt the credibility of this claim because, before I got married in the 1980s, my husband was already settling here. In the 1990s, the then Sudanese regime constructed this bridge and we even helped by contributing stones for the construction. What the state government is now claiming is unjust and they should revisit their files and records to figure out whether my house is illegally constructed or built on the road before demolishing it.

Another resident who identified herself as Juan Na-Kafuki Marcello claimed that the plots were allotted to them in the 1980s by then Bahr-al-Jebel government, saying she would not cooperate with the authorities unless she got compensated.

But again, Mrs. Kafuki Marcello urged the authorities to delay the implementation of the project up to the dry season.

“You cannot displace people during the rainy season, where do you expect us to go? Besides, this is my plot; it was given to my husband by the government of Bahr-al-Jebel. It is the only property my husband left behind and I have eight children. Where do you want me to go? We have the documents issued by the government unless you’re contradicting your own legal procedures and documents.

The Director-General of Eyat Construction Company, Daniel Wani said completion of the rehabilitation project will take 90 days maximum.

He affirmed his company’s commitment to delivering quality services to the people of South Sudan.

“The cost of this project, I will not tell you. The period we are looking at is about 90 days. It would be less than that but 90 days maximum to finish the project,” Daniel said.

Investor, Makiir Gai Thiep affirmed his readiness to continue supporting the people of South Sudan through social responsibility funds.

Mr. Makiir Thiep directed Eyat Construction Company to deliver quality services to the public.

“Previously, I contracted Eyat Construction Company to do the job. Eyat engineers constructed this very road and we participated in its inauguration. Two days later, we heard that the road got damaged again. The engineers said the damages were caused by the flood. As a result, we are contracting the same company to repair this airport road,” Makiir stated.

Mr. Makiir Thiep however, declined to disclose the cost of the project.

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