Green Scenery Applauds President Bio

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March 3, 2021

BY ABDULAZIZ SAMURA

Green Scenery has in a press release on 1st March, 2021, applauded President Julius Maada Bio for his promise to swiftly resolve the long standing dispute between aggrieved land owners and the private company SOCFIN Agricultural Company (SAC) in the Sahn Malen Chiefdom, Pujehun District.

Between 2011 and 2013, the SOCFIN Agricultural Company (SAC) leased 18, 473 acreages  of land in Sahn Malen Chiefdom, Pujehun District, through the Ministry of Forestry and Food Security for the production of Palm Oil.

According to the press release, “The President acknowledged his 2018 election promise on his visit to Sahn Malen on 19th February, 2021 at a mammoth community meeting. He further thanked the Malen people for their vote and the trust they placed in him to resolve the land dispute, and finally commended their patience as they wait for the government to settle the dispute.

Green Scenery notes that the President was obliged to demonstrate humility as a true leader to visit Malen and thank the Malen people for their support and vote in the 2018 elections, which he has done.

They said the President made a solemn promise to the hard-pressed aggrieved land owners and the people of the chiefdom that he will resolve the festering land dispute between them and the palm oil producer, SAC, if they voted for him.

“Malen voted en-Block for the President banking on that promise, which is yet to be fulfilled,” the Executive Director, Joseph Rahall noted.

The release also stated that Green Scenery notes President Bio’s recognition that the SOCFIN land deal was not satisfactory to the people of Sahn Malen, even though the company has made significant investments which should be respected.

“In this regard, his Excellency President Bio promised for the second time to resolve the disagreement to the benefits of the aggrieved land owners and the palm oil producer, SAC.Green Scenery and partners have on many occasions called the President’s and the Vice President’s attention to pursue the promised dialogue after the constituted Government’s Technical Committee report was submitted to the Vice President in September 2019. With trepidation, Green Scenery views President Bio’s second promise as renewed hope that- as he stated in mende ‘I am going to make it personal commitment to resolve it…in a win-win case,” he will dedicate some time to steer the process,” the release states.

Green Scenery believes that the conflict resolution process should consider the renegotiation of irregular land lease agreements, and take into account the negative impact of the company’s activities on the rights of Malen citizens, including environmental impact and implementation plans, criminalization, compensation and indemnification.

“As Green Scenery urges the president to muster the political will to resolve the differences, we wish to assure him of the support of Green Scenery and partners locally and internationally to put this disagreement to rest and forge ahead.”