Gambia: Rohey Lowe Tours Banjul Amid Reports of Construction At Old Cemetery

Rohey Malick Lowe, the mayoress of Banjul City Council (BCC) yesterday embarked on a visit to some project sites in Banjul, including the old cemetery amid reports that Jah Oil Company was attempting to construct a police post at the old cemetery situated on the outskirts of Banjul, near the defunct Radio Syd.

Meanwhile, an official of the Jah Oil Company has strongly denied reports that the company is planning to construct a police post at the old cemetery.

Speaking at the site during the visit, Mayoress Lowe unequivocally made it clear that the council was never consulted prior to the construction of said police post.

"The site visit is not meant for witch-hunting. The visit is to enable us to get first-hand information on some of the activities happening within Banjul. The site identified for the construction of said police post is where our great grandparents are buried. Therefore, we will not allow any construction to take place at the site," she stated.

"It's very painful to see people digging at the old graveyard where our relatives have been buried."

"The old Muslim cemetery started immediately after Radio Syd and then followed by the Christian old cemetery. So, if people are encroaching into the cemeteries which are under the custody of BCC, then it's high time that we stand firmly and arrest the situation," Katim Touray, the council's director of Planning said.

Momodou Hydara, general manager of Jah Oil Company, who was contacted for comments said: "The Gambia Police Force (GPF) during the time of the late police chief, Mamour Jobe, requested for lot of assistance from the Jah Oil Company, because Jah Oil is always helping out institutions in the country."

"Among the pledges is that the late IGP Jobe wanted to have a police post around Bond Road with the objective of reducing crime rate and curbing traffic accidents among others. We said that it shouldn't be a problem if the police are able to secure the land and the necessary documents, thus we agree in principle."

"Unfortunately, when he (Mamour Jobe) passed away, the new IGP Abdoulie Sanyang approached us and reaffirmed those pledges. IGP Sanyang told us whether we still continue with helping the GPF with a police post at Bond Road and we replied in the positive. We told Sanyang that we did not make those pledges to the late IGP, but to the GPF and that we will still continue on the pledges and among the pledges is the police post at Bond Road."

"We later consulted the police and they came with their own sketch plan and identified the site earmarked for the construction of the police post and we excavated it for them. In fact, we even told the police that they should provide the police maintenance team which will do the construction and we would provide everything they need in terms of materials."

"However, we were shocked to learn that some people were ranting on social media claiming that we are constructing a police post at the old cemetery in Banjul. But after making our own findings, we were even informed that the old cemetery started after the place earmarked for the police station. IGP Sanyang later asked us to stop the construction of the said police post until things settle down."

Mayoress Lowe and the team later visited Sino Majilac Zalbak Company, which is involved in sand dredging around Denton-Bridge.

"The company is not paying a trade licence to the Council. Again, with the way the company is deranging sand in the river, it would have a negative impact on Banjul," the mayoress posited.

"The National Environment Agency already gives us a certificate to operate after they conducted an Environmental Impact Assessment. In fact, we were going through this process for two good years. All the process that were supposed to be followed by the company were done and all the necessary departments and relevant authorities were contacted. The activities of the company will not destroy anything in Banjul," Banka Manneh, spokesperson of Sino Majilac Zalbak Company said.

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