The Minister of Lands and Country Planning has categorically stated that by the end of one year he would have retrieved 1000 acres of land illegally acquired by certain people in the Western Area as part of his second term of reference.
He warned that those who acquired lands illegally would forfeit them to the State as the 1954 Ordinance Act clearly defined State Lands from Private Lands. He said those who have occupied State Lands for years without proper documents must not claim legal ownership of such land as they belong to the State.
In the Act he said the colonial masters indicated that shores, bridges etc are all State Lands but over the years some people in the Western Area have claimed ownership of those lands without legal status.
He also stated that they have got cabinet approval to retrieve all State Lands in the Western Area and this time around he said, they are not looking back as they are moving forward.
He cited Borbor and Waterloo in Western Area where they are doing survey to identify and retrieve State Lands. He added that, the Act is very clear on the 3hree acres of land everyone is entitled to for private use but noted that some people have over the years claimed ownership of huge expanse of State Lands for no good reason.
He therefore warned that: there is no community land in the Western Area, pointing out that Headmen, Tribal Heads, Women Heads and Councilors in the various communities in the Western area should take their hands off State Lands as his Ministry is only one responsible for land issues.
He stated that they have reviewed the process of acquiring State Land and he is now responsible for signing and issuance of letter of offer. In the past many official of the Ministry including the Permanent Secretary were signing letter of offer thereby creating unnecessary chaos in the entire process of acquiring State Lands.