Ahead of this year’s rainy season, residents of Buu-Yao District in Nimba are worried about their fate owing to the dilapidation of the road network. If the government does not intervene quickly to repair some of the bridges that have become death traps, the entire district would be cut-off from the rest of the county, residents have informed the Daily Observer.
While on a weekend tour of the district a fortnight ago, our staff encountered some of the residents, including representatives of the youth and women organizations, among them marketers. They appealed to government to see reason and recondition at least a few of the major bridges, specifically the one at the entrance of Yao-Lepula at the southern end of Nyanlay Town, and the stretch of road connecting Obeyville, near Nyor-Gomaplay, home of the district’s representative and the senator of the county.
Another point of concern, according to some of the residents, is the River Zlan Bridge that has remained in ruins over the years, disconnecting vehicular movement between Yao Lepula and Nahnla (a major point of travel), without any sign of being repaired.
Up to date, the stretch of road linking Yao-Glarlay with Gboulay, an ancestral village of the late Jackson F. Doe which has been abandoned and is lying in ruins, due to the inability of vehicles to ply the route except for a few motorcyclists.
The deplorable road condition is visible enough to discourage anyone who wants to invest in the area, which is recorded as a cocoa-rich region, owing to its very close proximity to the Liberian border with La Cote d’Ivoire.
It may be recalled that the county administration on November 15, 2016, promised to commence the Buu–Yao Road rehabilitation project beginning in Wea-Beeplay Town, the district’s headquarters.
The work was supposed to be part of the county’s rehabilitation of feeder roads so as to boost trade and commerce, enhance security and economic activities. But up to present, residents say they are yet to see the impact, with all bridges having turned into death traps.
Peterson Walker, then head of the project management committee, informed residents that the rehabilitation was to cover about 150 kilometers of road beginning from Wea-Beeplay to Yao-Mahnplay, Yao Lepulah and Buutuo and then to Dinplay Town and New Yourplay in Kparblee District.
The roadwork was to also continue from Glarlay, Gblarlay and Teahplay Bouyealay, which is situated at the border with the Ivory Coast. But if nothing is done by the central government before the start of the rainy season, the entire district would be cut off from the rest of the county.
David Dorr Cooper, the county superintendent, added: “Looking at the needs of some of these communities, we have decided that the machines (road work equipment) could remain in a particular area until most of the feeder roads are connected.”
Cooper called on residents to cooperate with his office so that the work would go on smoothly, adding: “Development comes with pain; so be expecting some level of destruction as the work goes on.”
Since Cooper’s assurance, residents said no work as been done on road connectivity in the district, specifically about the bridges.
Buu–Yao Administrative District is one of the most populated districts in the county. It is located along the Liberia-Ivory Coast border in the eastern part of the county, connecting with Buutuo to the north and Kparble District to the southeast.
The district is, however, one of the most inaccessible areas in Nimba County, with the road leading to it difficult to be plied by most vehicles.
Samuel Kogar, representative of the district, has meanwhile appealed to residents not to panic as the road rehabilitation work will cover the entire district “any time soon.”
Buu-Yao District is one of 17 sub-districts of Nimba County. As of 2008, the population was 40,007.
It gained notoriety in the early days of the country’s 14-year civil crisis, because its headquarters, Buutuo, from where the first shot that ignited the war was fired by rebel forces of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL). Its trade link connects the town with Bein-Hounein and Zounien in the Ivory Coast, which over the years have attracted marketeers. Buutuo itself is surrounded on the north by Bwelay and Dorhubar just across the Ivorian border, Tanwea to the east and Nyor-Gbanwea Town to the south.