Sierra Leone: The government through the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) will start full clearing and reclamation of all right-of-way nationwide starting Saturday 12th June 2021. The exercise which is expected to begin in the Western Area Urban and Rural districts, is to facilitate expansion of the road and the installation of utility services including water pipes, electricity, and fibre cables.
In a public notice issued on Monday 7th June 2021, by SLRA told, “The Right-of-Way is a demarcated portion of land that spans 30 metres from the centre line to either side of the road for major highways, 20 metres for Urban township roads, 6-10 metres for rural roads.” The notice furthered, “Part VI (1) of the SLRA Act confers all land in the right-of-way to the Authority outlined, all rights-of-way for road purposes existing immediate before the commencement of this Act shall be vested in the Authority.”
SLRA revealed that most ongoing road projects in the country have either been put on hold or delayed due to the resistance of persons who had encroached and constructed permanent structures on the right-of-way. The authority said, the removal or relocation of those encroachers have cost government huge amounts of money as compensation to those encroachers, most on humanitarian ground.
Preventing similar problems in the future, SLRA said, they are embarking on a robust clearing and reclamation of the right-of-way nationwide, to protect unnecessary government spending, give a better facelift to both urban and rural planning of the country.
Samuel Mansaray (one of the many encroachers), resides along the Freetown-Waterloo Road is of the opinion that the planned exercise by SLRA is not timely despite the fact that it is legal to do stressing, the fact that most of the so-called ‘encroachers’ along those rights-of-way tells, they were either not in the position to have a plan of their own, or they can’t afford having a decent place to live.
He argued, SLRA should demarcate those places and ensure to position monitors along those places to ensure no new structures are erected on the right-of-way noting, if such planned exercises are carried out, there is the likelihood that his family and that of others will be rendered homeless, so add more pressure on government especially security.
Joseph Kanu, resident in Lumley said the decision by SLRA to clear and demarcate right-of-way all over the country is a step in the right direction, adding those encroachers occupied those areas illegally, constructed structures that de-beautify the country planning. He said getting them out of those places will do good for the country.
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