…CSOs demand answers
December 15, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
Action for Large Scale Land Acquisition Transparency (ALLAT), which comprises 15 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), has demanded reasons behind the delay to launch the National Land Policy, which they said had been validated and received cabinet approval since 2015.
The CSOs made the above demand during a visit to Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, Diana Finda Konomanyi, and her Permanent Secretary, Barba B. Fortune, on Tuesday, 13th December, 2016.
The CSOs also made a similar visit to the secretariat of Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure of land, Fisheries and Forest (VGGT) at Youyi Building, the offices of Christian Aid, Welt Hunger Hilfe (WHH) and the World Bank, where they dropped letters detailing their concerns in relation to the delay.
ALLAT National Coordinator, Abdulai Bun Wai, reminded the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment that the National Land Policy was yet to be launched since its validation and cabinet approval.
He said the ministry had once slated 17th November, 2016 to launch the policy but that did not materialise, adding that ALLAT wanted the government to come up with a date to launch the policy, which he said is highly needed than ever.
“Many people are suffering because of the absence of the policy. Large scale investors have been throwing them out of their lands. See the number of people suffering in the Western Area for land acquisition. If the policy had been launched and implemented, it would solve most of the problems that people are encountering with regards land acquisition,” he said.
He noted that the policy has clear structures responsible for the acquisition of land in Sierra Leone, adding that it made provision for electronic registration of all lands in Sierra Leone.
“50% of the cases in court are about land. The National Land Policy will have to address all future problems of lands in this country. To achieve food security, we need an operational land policy,” he said.
In his response, Permanent Secretary Barba B. Fortune said the government was very serious about the National Land Policy, disclosing that the 17th November, 2016 date for the launch of the policy was postponed because of the busy schedule of President Ernest Bai Koroma.
“We are not the ones fixing the presidential diary and we really want the President to launch the National Land Policy. From the look of things, I don’t think the policy would be launched this year. But I will tell the minister that concerns are coming up for the delay in the launch of the policy,” he assured the CSOs.