Minister of Lands, Housing and Country Planning Rtd Captain Benjamin Davis has expressed his ministry’s commitment and determination to rid Freetown, Makeni and Kaffu Bullom of all encroachers, abandoned private land as well as prosecute land grabbers.
Speaking yesterday at a meeting at the Miatta Conference Center in Freetown, the minister urged land owners, property developers and those involved in the indiscriminate selling of public land, emphasizing that Government has a plan for its land.
Mr Davis sought to clarify issues relating to community land, land surveying, and the documentation process put in place by the ministry to ensure the accuracy of the relevant land documents. He said all land above 150ft from the shores is public-owned.
He warned community heads and councilors to stop witnessing through signatures and thumb prints on documents that relate to the sale or purchase of land, adding that the ministry would regard those documents as forged and inaccurate.
He also warned the public against erecting structures on hills, in forest and on water catchments which he said would be demolished and replaced by trees that will be planted by the ministry to protect the environment. He assured that his ministry had started “a robust reform” programme to weed out corrupt and incompetent officials. Mr Davis said forest rangers and police officers will be trained and stationed at the ministry’s satellite offices with adequate logistics across the country to prevent encroachers occupying government land.
Land owners and developers welcomed Government’s initiative and promised to work cooperatively with the ministry to ensure encroachers were brought to book. They however called on the ministry of lands and country planning to employ competent land surveyors and permit officers who are committed to the work to avoid any conflict of interest in the execution of their duties.