The Gambian leader, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa on Monday inaugurated the iconic nine-storey building officially referred to as Petroleum House in Bijilo.
The inauguration of this structure, which cost government two hundred and thirty two million, six hundred and eighty-six thousand, seven hundred and eighteen dalasi (D232, 686, 718, 00) is in itself a landmark event in the annals of the history of The Gambia. It forms part of activities marking the 22nd anniversary of the July 22nd Revolution.
The building, among other features, has a helipad at the top, a cafeteria, library, data room, workplace kitchen, offices, auditorium, meeting rooms, a conference room and a board room. The entire building is approximately 6000m2 and consists of top class site infrastructure such as roads, paving, lightings, disposal systems and pleasing soft landscape.
In his inaugural address, the President thanked the contractors, the engineers and the consultant for the completion of the project. He said the inauguration is the beginning of the new era of development in The Gambia.
The President added that the construction of this magnificent edifice was conceived in 2005 and like many other government projects, his office was closely involved in the overall monitoring and supervision of the project from the design to the completion stage.
“I remember when I first viewed the architectural design in August, 2006; I had the cause to direct that the building be designed such that it represents a befitting symbol of national pride and future hope for The Gambia. It is an imposing edifice representing the lofty ideals that inspired the birth of a new beginning,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the Governor of the West Coast Region, Aminata Siffai Hydara said the building will serve as a monument for generations to come. “Being the dream come true for Your Excellency and us, your vision and efforts to make the Islamic Republic of The Gambia a respectable, the richest and most developed nation in the world can never be contested,” she added.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum, Baboucarr Njie, who doubles as the Managing Director of The Gambia National Petroleum Corporation thanked President Jammeh for what he referred to as the a beautiful gift to the nation.
“The planning and design is such that there is an amazing harmonising effect with the surrounding environment thus contributing to maximal effectiveness and efficiency at work,” he said.
Omar Camara who spoke on behalf of the Consultant said in doing the project they had responded to the complex accommodation needs of the organisation occupying the building in terms of the plan layouts.
“We have created an iconic nine-storey landmark corporate structure that has a significant impact on this part of the country; and have finished the building with innovative curtain walling and aluminum cladding, low maintenance structure with provisions for a helipad, to accommodate helicopter landing. This structure is totally Gambian designed in the fields of architecture, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering, and demonstrates the maturity of Gambian Technicians in the design and supervision of construction projects,” he said.
Representatives of the Contractor and the consultant also spoke at the programme. More details of the inauguration would come in our next issue.
by Musa Ndow