A cheque of Le 42 million was Friday presented to the Kaffu Bullom Airport Land Owners as the land lease rent for the period of 2010.
The Standard Charted Bank cheque was officially handed over to the provincial secretary North, Maru Koroma, by the outgoing general manager of the Airport Authority, Donald C.O. Bull.
The ceremony was attended by a galaxy of dignitaries including Members of Parliament, chiefs, councillors, Airport Board members and staff, as well as representatives from the land and transport ministries.
Mr Bull, who viewed this as last official function in his capacity as general manager, used the occasion to pay tribute onto himself noting that it was one of the most difficult work to serve as a manager at an airport, adding that “one has to always be alert.”
He singled out water and electricity supplies as some of the key areas where the bulk of their revenue was being spent and urged for government’s intervention.
The provincial secretary said he was impressed by what appeared to be a cordial link between the community and the management of the airport. He said the agreement of the Kaffu Bullom Airport Land lease was signed in 1951 between the government of Sierra Leone and the owners for a period of 99 years. Mr Maru Koroma said 40% of the 42 million Leones cheque was for the owners while 20% would go to the Paramount Chief another 20% for the Port Loko District Council and the remaining 20% was for the Kuffu Bullom Chiefdom administration.
Although the Land Owners’ Association chairman, Alhaji Bangura, was opposed from making any statement by a cross section of the land owners, the area Member of Parliament Hon. Mohamed Khalil Khanu who doubled as a land owner expressed dismay over the amount of payment and stressed the need for a review of the agreement so as to enable the people of Kaffu Bullom derive some gains for the use of their previous land. The chairman for the ceremony, Sheik Swaray Deen, explained the level of encouragement on the said land by locals and the dangers such a practice continued to pose to the management.
Mr John M.M. Briama, the deputy general manager, outlined some of the assistance the airport management was rendering to the Kaffu Bullom community and expressed the desire to do more.
The Kaffu Bullom regent chief, Mohamed Hassan Bangura, the company secretary M.E. Sesay and the chairman Board of Directors Sierra Leone Airport Authority Alhaji Kandeh Yillah all made contributions.