June 19, 2015 By Alusine Sesay
Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment yesterday engaged three local council wards east of Freetown on land management, planning and environmental security.
The three wards – Granville Brook, Dockyard and Kanikay – are disaster prone communities especially in the course of the raining season.
Public Relations Officer at the ministry, Alfred Kabia, explained the role of the ministry and the purpose of the meeting.
Chairman Edward Bendu, who is Chief Environmental Officer, told the gathering they have received several negative reports on environment, land management and planning from the three wards in the past years, thus the reason to engage slum communities and sensitise them and chart the way forward.
Bendu also spoke on environmental pollution, illegal and unregulated water banking, which he said pose serious danger to inhabitants.
He said the danger of dumping garbage into drainages was immense as such practice could lead to flooding whenever it rains.
He emphasised the problem of congestion and called on local leaders, including councilors, clerics and youth leaders to join the fight against environmental degradation.
Planning Officer at the ministry, Aiah Fillie, told the gathering that country planning begins with consultation, coupled with agreement to common understanding through awareness raising.
He noted that poor planning could lead to disaster as he noted that people just settle on lands and construct buildings with reckless disregard for the dangers ahead, adding that lawlessness is one of the issues affecting country planning.
He said people occupy land without proper document and called on such people to be law abiding and follow due procedures in acquiring land.
“You should try to see reason to go by the rules and regulations with regards country planning,” he said.
Acting Assistant Director of Lands, Sahr M. Kanawa, said land management and planning should concern all and sundry and that the ministry needs the assistance of all stakeholders.
He said the ministry would send out officials to re-demarcate and properly plan lands across the capital to ensure proper planning, hence information sharing was relevant in that drive.
He touched on some of the dangers of land grabbing and that subletting leased lands is a crime.
Councilors present, including Councilors Amadu Bangura from Ward 366, Addissaya Kamara from Ward 365 and Ayo Bangura from Ward 367, all promised to give their unflinching support to the ministry and save the country from danger.