The stretch of road connecting Sanniquellie, Nimba County’s political capital, with the old mining town of Yekepa, has turned into a “death trap” and has been dubbed a “no go area” in recent times due to its deplorable condition.
The bad condition of the road has added to the already existing hardships being faced by ordinary residents in the ArcelorMittal concession area as well as surrounding towns and hamlets.
As a result, some residents are complaining about the skyrocketing of prices of goods and services, including transportation fares from motorists who dare travel on this route.
Daiby Lee, a resident of Yekepa, decried the situation because she feels that the condition of the road should have been improved ever since, given that mining activities in the region were at their peak in the 60s.
“Besides the company’s cars, you can hardly see any private or commercial vehicles plying the route for nearly a week,” Ms. Lee added.
The Sanniquellie-Yekepa road is about 15 kilometers. Every rainy season, it becomes so deplorable, making life unbearable in the once-bustling mining community. Some residents said this year has been the worst due to the torrential rains.
When the Daily Observer recently visited the area, it was observed that several commercial trucks, which had ventured to try their luck on the road, got stranded, particularly between Sanniquellie and Zolowee Town, midway to Yekepa, further up north.
“The company is only concerned about road within the concession zone, but areas outside of the concession remain vulnerable,” said an elderly woman, who was on a motorbike and struggling to reach her destination. Most vehicles use a detour through nearby villages or towns, to avoid the overwhelming mud.
Yekepa’s border is connected to Guinea and is one of the key local ports in Nimba County, from which revenue collection is significant, next to the Ganta and Loguatuo ports of entry.