By Mohamed Massaquoi
Sierra Leoneans in Holland have urged President Ernest Bai Koroma to immediately reform the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, alleging that certain individuals in the ministry have made it their stock in trade to dupe people on the pretext of selling state lands.
The request was made during a Town Hall meeting organised by the Open Government Initiative (OGI) at the Opera conference hall, central Holland, for Serra Leoneans in that part of Europe to ask questions about governance, economic and infrastructure development in the country.
One of the participants at the meeting, Ms. Aminata Turay said they are frustrated by workers at the Ministry of Lands who most often than not dupe Sierra Leoneans, a development she considered as violation of their rights to own property in the country.
“Mr. President, I want to appeal to you to look into the Ministry of Lands because we are unnecessarily suffering in the hands of officials of that ministry. We struggle hard to get money to help our people in Sierra Leone, but we are always frustrated by the Ministry of Lands, so please help us Mr. President,” she appealed.
Another Sierra Leonean, Mohamed Suma, also told this medium that proper mechanism should be put in place to ensure that citizens benefit from their God giving wealth.
President Koroma, however, assured them he would look into the matter.
Meanwhile, Director of Criminal Services in the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), Assistant Inspector General Morie Lengor, is reported to have said that land grabbing is becoming an issue with a lot of violence attached to it.
He said police are working hard to reduce crime linked to land grabbing, adding that most people occupy a piece of land when they realise it has been vacant for some time.
However, Deputy Minister of Lands, Ahmed Khanou has disclosed that the draft Land Policy would assure equitable access to land and guarantee security of tenure.