… New Foot-Bridge After Herald’s Story
By Alfred Dogbey
A philanthropist and Executive Director of Obuobia Foundation, Madam Obuobia Darko-Opoku, has moved to save the lives of school children living along the Mallam-Borla Road in the Ga-South Municipal Assembly, who walk on two rotten wooden footbridges to school daily, following a publication by The Herald.
The former parliamentary candidate, who said she was “touched” by the media report upon hearing of it, went to the site last Saturday, and voluntarily ordered an immediate “reconstruction of the damaged bridges …” after inspection. The rotten wooden structure, will be replaced by a concrete one, as soon as possible. Work starts today, Monday, August 10.
She told journalists, “I was indeed, saddened and broken as I saw hundreds of people walk with fear on the wobbly bridge”.
According to her, she had had a “sleepless night” over the news, especially at the plight of the school children.
The visibly unhappy humanitarian said, “I was waiting to hear if somebody would have moved” to help, especially when the issue has “got enough publicity” as the residents were calling on their Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Jerry Nii Akwei Thompson, and the Member of Parliament (MP), Comfort Rosemond Abrah, to come to their aide.
Madam Obuobia said, even though the municipal assembly, has given out the contract for the construction of a proper drainage system, it was important to build a temporal bridge for the residents to avert any unforeseen disaster from occurring. For this reason, it is, “important to get out this is morning, come and see exactly how we can help for short-time period till the municipal assembly and government can come to their aide”.
When asked if she is not only doing the projects for votes and the impending NDC Parliamentary primary, Obuobia Darko-Opoku, who was very calm answered, “this is not something am doing to impress my party’s delegates” adding “You don’t need to do all these things to become MP”.
According to her “You can just sleep in your room and when it is time for your party’s primaries, you can put yourself out and the delegates will decide whether to vote for your or not”.
The Herald last week reported that, the lives of over hundred school children living along the Mallam-Borla Road in the Ga-South Municipal Assembly, are in danger, as a result of two wooden footbridge constructed on a stream to serve as the only route to their schools, have turned into death traps with a major disaster waiting to strike.
The Herald’s checks revealed that, the deadly nature of the footbridges in the community, forced some parents to withdraw their children from nearby schools and sent them to schools, where they would not have to use the rotten wooden footbridge.
Angry residents told The Herald, the MCE, Jerry Nii Akwei Thompson and MP for the area, Comfort Rosemond Abrah, are aware of the situation, but surprisingly they have kept their eyes closed on the danger, leaving the users, particularly the school kids, helpless.
According to the residents, about six people have so far lost their lives. Amongst them are two children who got drowned in the drain beneath the footbridge during the recent torrential floods which hit the city claiming nearly 200 lives.
The footbridges are located behind the Princess International School Complex and in front of Pastor Kumchacha’s church, near the main Mallam Lorry Station, while the other is located around the Presby Church. This paper was informed that, the bridges were constructed by the residents some years ago.
The Herald also gathered that some concerned teachers who were deeply worried over the horrifying condition of the footbridges, have instructed their students to use alternative routes to the school, even if it entailed having to walk long distances.
On a recent visit, The Herald observed that, the problem had reached a critical stage, and required an immediate solution. It was unclear why the once vibrant MCE, has been very reluctant in the discharge of his duties, as many had expected from him.
The residents painted a scary picture about how the footbridges are usually swept away upon the least downpour, thus preventing them from going about their daily activities. Indeed, some of them who use the rotten footbridges, have stopped going to church to worship, fearing they might drown.
A resident of the area, Jewel Ofori Poku, who could not contained the apparent lackadaisical attitude of their leaders disclosed that, all attempts to get the authorities to attend to the situation had proven futile. He told The Herald, “We are not able to go out of this community when it rains, and this is affecting us so much”.
According to him, the community had become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, because gutters in the area were filled with stagnant water, adding “when we speak the authorities at the municipal assembly, do not pay attention.”
Another resident, Mr. Frank Quartey, who also spoke to The Herald, pleaded with the municipal assembly to come to their aid by constructing a concrete drain. When The Herald contacted Elliot Adom, the Public Relation Officer (PRO) of the Municipal Assembly, he denied knowledge of the issue, but pleaded with this reporter not to go public with the story.
He also flatly denied that his boss, the MCE, has been informed and aware of the situation, indicating that he will inquire from the MCE and give The Herald a feedback, but this never happened.