14th December 2018
Salone Lands Minister Reclaims 463 Hectares of State Lands from Predators in Freetown!
By a press release (26/10/18)
Sierra Leone Minister of Lands has stuck to his promise by successfully reclaiming state lands from predatory grabbers in the Western Area.
The Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment Dr. Denis Sandy, made history against all odds after sticking to his promise to do all in his power to reclaim state lands from the hands of corrupt land grabbers in the Western Area. (Photo: Lands Minister Dr. Sandy, a move in the right direction).
The historic event took place on Thursday 11th October 2018 at the Ministry in Youyi Building where he handed over the original site plan of the entire property of Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, a 463 hectares of land that has fallen prey to predatory land grabbers over the years.
The Permanent Secretary of the Lands Ministry, Israel B. K. Jigba, did not mince his words when he disclosed that the greater portion of the land is now occupied by trespassers and encroachers who purport to have good titles to the land they occupy.
Minister Sandy is probably the most determined minister, following the lead of late Dr. Bobson Sesay while he was the Lands Minister. But not even Dr. Sesay could reign in the perpetrators of land grabbing who are deeply embedded in the dark side of the legal system.
"I am pleased to be part of history making process," the proud minister stated during the handing over formalities of the FBC site plan to the college authorities. A historic step, yes, however, Dr. Sandy himself is now facing the most difficult part of state lands reclamation campaign.
And giving the fact that too many hands have meddled with land issues they have very little knowledge about Captain Benjamin Davies, Musa Tarawallie and Diana Konomanyi, who took turns in rapid succession in either reclaiming or disposing of state lands, which Dr. Sandy is now called upon to rectify.
Dr. Sandy must be seen to be equitable and consistent in his actions as there are concerns from genuine land owners that the minister is over stepping his legal boundary by interfering with private lands. No doubt, there will be legal battles between him and legal counsels defending their clients’ interests in the courts of law.
Not being a lawyer himself, observers fear that the minister would be caught in position where he would not be able to justify his actions legally unless he seeks legal advice from the Attorney General etc, some of whom may have vested interests in maintaining the present status quo of the legal system that has given undue leverage to land grabbers and those who buy land from them.
The Lands Ministry is in a deep quagmire of legal anomaly much too complicated for the minister to fully exercise his mandate effectively, especially in attempting to reclaim state lands from land grabbers and their accomplices in the ministry itself.
The office of the Administrator and Registrar General, and very senior government officials including police officers, lawyers and judges might well be judging in their own cause should lands matter come before them for hearing.
Dr. Sandy needs to familiarize himself with both the history and laws governing land tenure in the Western Area since the establishment of a Settlement in Freetown by the British government in 1787 when the first set of land allotment was done by the first governor of the British Colony in 1808.
Courtesy: The Calabash Newspaper