By Abubakarr Harding
The Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Country Planning organized a landmark event on Thursday, May 11th, 2023, as it conducted a raffle draw for the allocation of lands to Kekeh and Okada riders. The event, which took place at the Youyi Building car park, Freetown, has been hailed as a significant step towards transparency, fairness, and responsible governance in the lands sector.
Under the leadership of Dr. Turad Senesie, the Minister of Lands, Housing, and Country Planning, the Ministry has been instrumental in upholding those values, particularly in the allocation of plots of State land for residential purposes.
In an unprecedented move, the latest land raffle draw saw one thousand Sierra Leoneans from the Kekeh and Okada Union emerging as the newest set of landlords, out of over two thousand applicants.
The raffle draw was conducted in the presence of esteemed representatives from the Anti-Corruption Commission, Coordinator of Land for Life, the Press, applicants etc. The event was a testament to the Government’s commitment to inclusivity and accountability.
During the draw, Ibrahim Serry, President of the Kekeh Rider Union, expressed his profound gratitude to God and the President for appointing Dr. Turad Senesie as the Minister of Lands. He shared that owning land in the city was a distant dream due to its high cost and the arduous process involved. However, thanks to Dr. Turad Senesie’s leadership, he can now proudly call himself a landlord.
Despite facing opposition, Serry acknowledged the Minister’s unwavering dedication to the cause and pledged continued prayers for the President and his Minister for the joy they have brought to their hearts.
Umaru Talie Bah, President of the Bike Riders Association, emphasized the importance of the Kekeh and Okada riders in Sierra Leone. With over one thousand five hundred riders, mostly youth, they play a vital role in the daily functioning of the country, he furthered.
Bah stated that if the Bike and Kekeh riders were to collapse, it would be a significant blow to Sierra Leone, as they are the backbone of transportation and even assist politicians during rallies and protests.
He commended the President and his Minister for not only granting them land but also fostering a sense of responsibility among the riders.
Bah noted that obtaining land in the city was an uphill battle for them, as the majority of them hail from the provinces and lacked the financial means to purchase property.
Dr. Turad Senesie, the Minister of Lands and Country Planning, highlighted the Government’s commitment to the welfare of its citizens, regardless of their income bracket.
He recognized that Kekeh and Okada riders fall within the lowest income category and stressed the Government’s responsibility to cater for all Sierra Leoneans. The Ministry’s objective is to meet the housing needs of people across different income brackets.
Dr. Senesie explained that the Land Raffle Model was designed to ensure fair, transparent, and equitable distribution of State land.
The Minister clarified that the raffle draw was not an isolated incident revealing how in the past, lands had been allocated to various sectors, including the civil service, security forces, medical professionals, educators, and journalists.
He assured the public that the Ministry would continue to organize raffle draws and allocate land to Sierra Leoneans, enabling even the less privileged citizens to have a roof over their heads.
The Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Country Planning’s efforts to allocate land through a transparent process have earned accolades from both citizens and the international community.
Lands should not be raffled. It is absolute nonsense.
The country should encourage investment in housing by allocating those lands to people or entities interested in investing in the housing sector with an agreement that those entities would build affordable houses, and apartments that citizens can take on mortgage system. I bet everyone here that majority of the people who won the raffle would by next year build unsafe dwellings or sell the lands at exorbitant prices. We do not have the luxury to spread our city. we should be judicious with our land use thus the need to allocate lands to institutions that can build affordable houses on small plots of lands that can housed several families. Sooner or later, we would not have lands s for recreation and other important services because we are spreading the city as if the land grow. Politics at its cheapest.