October 12, 2018
By Alusine Sesay
The Ministry of Lands and Country Planning has yesterday unveiled an excavator that would be used to enhance the operations of the ministry in diverse ways possible.
According to the Minister of Lands,Dr.Dennis Sandy,some Sierra Leoneans who were impressed with the operations of the ministry under his regime, decided to donate the excavator to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations.
“This is a remarkable achievement, whether you like or not. This is a demonstration of our collective effort in trying to transform this ministry to the level where Sierra Leoneans want us to reach,” he said
He continued that: “Today, we are going to tell the whole country that we have a machine that would help to recover state lands swiftly and clinically.”
He however allayed the fears of the public that “For the first time we are going to tell the country that we are not going after everybody’s house. Our focus is on newly built areas and we are going to ensure that we maintain discipline.”
He noted that the machine would be used to plan the city in terms of road construction and site planning, and above all ensure independence of the ministry in its operations.
Minister Sandy noted that his ministry is at the centre of whatever the country wants to do in terms of development, ranging from agriculture, energy, estate, among several others, thus lamenting on the negative effect of land grabbing mainly aided by some officials of the ministry.
“Those of you who are working in concert with land grabbers, especially my staff, the Almighty God is watching you. You should be ashamed of yourself for working with land grabbers- that you are working here and the government is paying you-then you are turning public properties into your individual use,” he lamented.
He noted that he was at the ministry to ensure sanity and leave a legacy behind that would be envied by all and sundry, stressing that that people were out there and in need of land but deprived of having one due to land grabbing.
He called on his officials to maintain integrity and work in the interest of the country.
On his part, Deputy Minister of Lands,Rex Bonapha, stated that the operations of the ministry have over the years been epileptic and that it was the first time in history that the ministry has got a state of the art excavator worth over two to three hundred thousand United States Dollars.
He also allayed the fears of the public that “The machine is not meant to instil fear in anybody. It is only meant to enhance our work as a ministry. It would only be used against those who fall short of the law. If you are doing things within the ambit of the law, then you have nothing to fear.”
He further charged that some officials of the ministry were working in cohort with land grabbers.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry,Isreal B.K Jigba, described the Excavator as a critical working tool, stating that before now the ministry has had to hire private contractors to undertake operations at very colossal cost.
“The ministry now has the capacity to undertake activities including construction of roads, planning of land and demolition,” he said.
Acting Special Director of Surveys and Lands,Sahr Mark Kanawa, observed that : “This is the start of the development we are all yearning for as a nation. It tells that when we all work together, we would definitely succeed.”