Joy at last… New Direction In Free Land Distributions

 

Dozens more were surprised than happy last week Friday 18th, January when the Minister of Lands Housing and the Environment, Dr. Denis M. Sandy and Deputy, Rex Bhonapha assured them of having a fair share, this time, of parcels of lands to their entitlements.

For the ministry, it was a novelty to have a transparent and open process to have all the applicants interviewed in front of everyone inclusive of Ambassadors; Deputy Ministers; Lawyers; Magistrates; officials of the Ministry of Lands Housing and the Environment; Politicians; Police and Military personnel; Teachers; Journalists; Traders and ordinary citizens.

Dr. Sandy was very clear when he stated that the President Julius Maada Bio led government is poised to ensure that every citizen is entitled to state land as the new direction would rather prefer to salvage the long quest and drawn battles for land to come to an end.

He disclosed that the current land reserve to be distributed were parcels of lands reclaimed recently from state land grabbers.

In an open interface with the minister, his deputy and senior lands ministry officials, the applicants were interviewed to ascertain their chosen areas of occupancy; financial strengths to undertake the construction projects in the allocated areas with a period of one year; if they are citizens of Sierra Leone and above the age of 18.

Over one thousand persons applied for state land in the year under review. Their faces were bright in joy as they openly confessed to the media that it was the first time the government called all applicants for such an interview.

Others recalled the past when they applied for state land they were not shortlisted to benefit from the equitable state land distribution policy of the government at the time.

It was all to celebrate for the new direction, one successful applicant told The Exclusive in an interview. Her point was that the party campaigned on the basis of uniting the country on a roadmap to generalized development without political, tribal and regional considerations. The acquisition interview did not determine who from the other side benefitted because there was no such question to determine tribes, political belongings or regions, she averred.

The minister said they are on a mission to ensure that land is equitably distributed to all Sierra Leoneans to ease the burden on the poor masses that often put up with the burden of renting apartments for their siblings.

In the view of President Bio, Dr. Sandy said, it was unfair to deprive the citizens of God’s gift of nature all for financial gains. He said the ministry is facing a serious resistance from land grabbers, some with hundreds more acres that perceived the government’s strides as a blow to their selling spree of lands to prospective buyers for exorbitant prices thereby depriving the ordinary citizens. “I want to assure you all that under the new direction, we are going to ensure that everyone is entitled to a piece of land.” He beastly stated.

In a rapturous applauds, the minister and his deputy asked the people to ignore the noise and attention seeking that is coming from land grabbers as the ministry would continue to reclaim more lands for equitable distribution. He said over two hundred acres of land is available at Gloucester Saddle, Regent, Goderich, Adonkia; and hundreds more in the east axis and with a limited quantity of land in the West End of the capital, Freetown out of which a vast area has been reserved for the construction of a new State House, Ministerial Quarters, Administrative Buildings and Residential Areas.

He called on those interested in acquiring parcels of lands to go through the legal means: that is the Ministry of Lands Housing and the Environment’s official desks for a thorough due process.

The demand for land outstrip the supply, Dr. Sandy pointed out and warned that those who would be opportune to benefit from this first offer should stick to the one year development plan other than that the ministry is sure to reclaim those undeveloped parcels of land for onward distribution to interested individuals. The good news is that those that may not be lucky this time to acquire state lands are already in the database and are sure to benefit in the next stage of land distribution.

Dr. Sandy informed the media that, for the first time, in almost 70 years, government has made a down-payment of over one billion, five hundred thousand Leones (Le, 1.5 billion) for community lands in Bo, Southern Region and Kenema, Eastern Region. Those lands now belong to the government and are available for equitable distribution to interested parties. The equitable land distribution process, according to the minister, is going to be done across the country to give a massive boost to nation planning, improved housing in the capital and major towns and revitalize the family cycles with proper housing facilities.

The conditions for building modern brick housing, the minister said, is to ensure that in modern times, the capital and major towns are rid off rickety structures as he jokingly said Freetown is the only capital city in Africa with such awkwardly housing designs.