Following series of engagements with key Stakeholders to expedite the relocation process of the Pademba Road main Correctional Centre to Songo just outside Freetown, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has teamed up with the Sierra Leone Correctional Service and the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning through the government of Sierra Leone and has engaged the Songo Community leaders for the acquisition of about 300 acres of land for the relocation of the Sierra Leone Main Correctional Centre in the Songo community.
Addressing the meeting, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Sheick Kargbo, disclosed that the negotiation for the land at Songo is a continuation of the several meetings held at the Ministry, where they discussed issues pertaining the acquisition of the said land. Adding that at the beginning, 120 (one hundred acres of land was available, but during their discussions, it was agreed that more piece of land would be needed for the construction of an ultra-modern correctional Centre. He made this disclosure at a meeting held in the Songo Colony Community on Monday 23th August, 2021. He furthered that, the relocation and construction of a new Correctional Centre would fulfil President Dr. Julius Maada Bio’s vision of transforming the Correctional Service.
Mr. Kargbo assured the stakeholders that the government would make use of the local content policy, which will help create jobs for the indigenes during the inception of the project, rather than outsourcing. He went on to say that, the land when purchased and constructed, would significantly contribute to the social and economic development and growth of people in that part of the Country, which at the moment is hugely challenged. Furthermore, poverty will be reduced and livelihood activities as well as economy stimulation will be boosted. ‘The correctional Centre coming here will be accompanied by explosive development such as the construction of court of justice, police station, schools, markets, hospitals and so much more’. Said the Permanent Secretary.
Meanwhile, the Acting Director General of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service, Mr. Ahmed A. Turay felt gratified over progress made so far and laid emphasis on the corporate social responsibilities of the SLCS adding that Preference would be given to deserving youths of Songo during their next phase of recruitment. He said the construction of the SLCS will connect communities and to ensure that goods and services are accessible to the communities.
Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces Technical Support Team Lead Seconded to the Sierra Leone Correctional Service (SLCS), Colonel David Ngaujah thanked and appreciated the stakeholders for the fruitful and fulfilling negotiation and reiterated that government is pushing hard for the relocation of the Freetown Main Correctional Centre to Songo. He furthered that those deliberations on the acquisition of the acres of land would be published for evidence. According to him, the relocation of the SLCS Centre has been a major challenge, noting that it is expected to enhance trade and commerce along the communities as residents would no longer be urged to go endanger their lives for commodities in the neighboring communities, but will considerably improve travel times
In addition, the Assistant Director of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning, Mr. Yayah Kamarakeh promised to give the actual total of the parcel of land surveyed in the shortest possible time, for the additional land bringing it to a total of 300 acres of land for the whole project. He frankly told the stakeholders that the government was not buying the land but would compensate them. He explained the need for the Stakeholders to be reasonable enough in the initial price of the land per acre. Meanwhile, negotiations are still ongoing to actualize the price of the said land per acre.
By MIA Media & Comms. Team