As it establishes Complaints Committee…  Lands Ministry Frowns on Recent Deforestation & Forest Degradation

By Amin Kef Sesay

According to a Public Notice issued on the 9th March 2021 by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning a Complaints Committee has been constituted to look into land disputes in the Western Area between April 2018 and January 2021.

The Nine-Man Committee, that was set up, is hosting its sessions at the Bank Complex in Kingtom, Freetown and started doing so on the  9th, March 2021.

The Committee is receiving formal complaints from the general public at the Bank Complex Venue and through Email to the address:

It was highlighted that all those who feel aggrieved on land allocation issues over the aforementioned period under review should forward their official complaints to the Committee with photocopies of all relevant documents to substantiate their claims.

Stated also was that the Committee has been mandated to look into these land grievances and to submit its findings and recommendations to the Government for appropriate actions.

In another development, the Ministry of Lands on the 10th March 2021 stated that it has been observed that while the Ministry has established a dispute resolution committee to address the overwhelming concerns raised by the public over the manner in which lands were administered or allocated, certain individuals have embarked on massive unauthorized construction and forest degradation activities.

It said the Ministry has also noticed with dismay the recent deforestation and forest degradation along the Western Area Peninsula National Park (WAPNP) and other Protected Areas.

According to the Ministry, those activities have damaging effects on the surrounding environment.

In that light the Ministry said it is entreating the general public to desist from any of such unlawful activities saying defaulters will face the full force of the law.

It said against such a backup, the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning is deploying State Land Guards along the WAPNP, Wetlands, Waterways, Bridges and Hilltops.

The Ministry said it is encouraging members of the public to cooperate with these guards and report any illegal activity to the local authorities in the respective communities for prompt action.

It could be recalled that an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Lands and Water Catchment was constituted with a view to protect the Forest Reserves and Water Catchment Areas within the Western Area. These areas have been mapped out and collectively protected by the Committee headed by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning.

The Ministry, it said, it appreciates the efforts and collaboration of the local authorities around these various communities and assures all of utmost cooperation, fairness, accountability and transparency in the administration and management of the land sector.


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