By Foday Moriba Conteh
A copy of the resurveyed 223 acres of land was presented by the Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, Dr. Dennis Sandy on Thursday 18th June 2020 to the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCE&T) polytechnic, Goderich campus to the Principal and other administrative staff at a press conference held at the conference room of the Ministry of Information and Communications, 8th Floor, Youyi Building in Freetown.
The Ministry’s survey team was headed by the Director of Surveys and Lands.
The Minister recalled that the first Prime Minister of Sierra Leone, Sir Milton Margai bought the land for the college that starts from the main Peninsula Road down to the Atlantic Ocean but lamented that over the years people have encroached on the land due to among others population growth and that a similar exercise has been done for Fourah Bay College and Njala University College respectively.
Dr. Dennis Sandy enlightened that the Principal of the MMCET applied to the Ministry to resurvey the land which exercise took two weeks, that the latest technology, including drone that flew up to 300 feet, was used for the exercise, affirmed that the process is very perfect as all that was relevant were captured including the Sierra Leone Survey that clearly indicates that the land is State property and that next week the Ministry would officially handover the site plan to the college reiterating that there would be no more business as usual.
According to the Minister, the Ministry is resurveying State lands not only in Freetown but nationwide, allocating lands to deserving Sierra Leoneans, rigorously pursing those blocking access roads, increasing planning of the country and new settlements intimating that the Ministry would hold discussions with the encroachers at Goderich on the way out, that everything would be properly documented, verify the authenticity of the documents and went on to inform that valid land documents should have only one signature-that of the Director of Surveys and Lands.
The Principal of MMCET, Dr. Philip John Kanu asserted that he has received a lot of support from Government for the land, that the President is keenly interested in the issue, articulated that the day signifies a big development for the college as Government plans to expand the college which is impossible without land, that he had engaged the Minister on the issue for the past three months and that Government is now satisfied that the land has been resurveyed and that the College Council, that is representing Government, would decide the best way out of the impasse.
Dr. Kanu continued that His Excellency the President is aware and well-informed about the issue, that Government has secured funding from the Arab Bank to expand the college, that those who illegally acquired the land would be asked to vacate reiterating that the resurveyed plan would be officially handed over to the college soon, that the college has been in court for the past ten years over the issue and spent over Le500 million.
He also commended the Ministry for being very professional and using modern technology to identify the beacons, that the land was ‘gazetted’ with a payment plan and signatures underscoring that the college has retrieved all the documents relating to the land, appealed to old students of the college for support, revealed plans to fence the property after repossessing it to prevent encroachers and disclosed plans to construct hotels on the land for practical for the Hotel and Tourism Training Center and the hospitality industry.
Dr. Kanu said phone companies that have installed their masts on the land are not paying the college, one of the reasons the college appealed to the President to intervene in the matter reiterating that the college would be expanded to train the country’s middle-level manpower that would add value to technical/vocational education as well as transform the college to a polytechnic.
The question and answer session climaxed the well-attended event that was chaired by Mr. Emmanuel Turay of the Ministry of Information.