June 14, 2019
By Mohamed Massaquoi
Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD) in collaboration with Green Scenery, Sierra Leone Network on Right to Food (SILNORF) and United for the Protection of Human Rights(UPHR) has organized a land rights and land governance stakeholder conference in Port Loko district, northern Sierra Leone .
The meeting attracted human rights defenders on land rights, senior district officers from Port Loko district, chiefdom authorities, Chairman Port Loko District Council, among others.
According to the Public Relations Officer for Green Scenery, Mohamed Kargbo, they called the meeting in order to look into the apparent land dispute in Bureh, Kasseh, Mokonteh and Bakehloko chiefdoms, all in the Port Loko district.
He added that the Sierra Leone Agriculture Company (SLA) acquired 41,582 hectares of land in those chiefdoms without following due processes in acquiring the said acreages of land from the people.
“The principles of prior and informed consents were not observed while acquiring that land from the community people,” he said, adding that the situation has created a lot of economic hardship among the people.
“In 2018, the landowners in Bureh, Kasseh, Makonteh and Bakelokoh Chiefdom took the company to court on the basis of non-payment of rent to landowners for a period of three years.The court ruled on the matter in favour of the landowners on the 12th October 2018.The court ordered that a total of 41,582 hectares of land be returned to the landowners and that the company should also pay an arrears of rent to the landowners with a total sum of US$ 249,492 with 5% annual interest,” he said and concluded that they were in Port Loko to engage relevant stakeholders on the matter.