The construction of the Ganta-to-Yekapa highway, promised to the people of Nimba by ArcelorMittal in 2007, is said to be in limbo. This situation has become a source of mounting concern among the citizens of Nimba who were led to believe the project should have began this past March.
The continued delay in the pavement of the Ganta-Yekapa highway is a source of worry not only to the citizens of Nimba, but to NGOs carrying out activities in the county as well.
Speaking to the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview in Ganta in early February 2014, the Head of Agriculture Relief Services and chairman of the Nimba NGOs Network, P. Luogon Lah, said the continued delay in the pavement of the highway needed to be addressed immediately.
In a February 2014 radio interview, government relations officer for ArcelorMittal, Marcus Wleh, said the company had since released about US$40 million to the Government of Liberia for pavement of the highway.
During a recent visit to Nimba by Madam Antoinette Weeks, Minister, Ministry of Public Works, she wouldn’t comment on any of the issues regarding the alleged payment of US$40m to the Government for the highway’s construction.
The construction of this stretch of road has been closely scrutinized by the citizens of Nimba since the beginning of this year; with people questioning why it has taken so long for ArcelorMittal to act upon promises made back in 2007.
A youth group from Nimba, under the banner of the “Concerned Nimbaians for Renegotiation and Resigning of the MDA,” has been voicing their distaste over the handling of the highway’s construction.
Saye Musah, the head of the group, said, “We want to know when the Ganta-Yekapa road project will begin. The delay in the road construction is being seen as a serious issue among the youth and citizens of Nimba County. This delay could likely result in protests if the status of the construction is not properly explained,” he warned.
Already, there was some dissatisfaction among Nimbaians over the government’s failure to release social and county development funds into Nimba’s account.
In 2007, ArcelorMittal’s management promised President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, they would pave the Ganta-Yekapa Road as her ‘birthday gift.’