Krio land dispossession in Freetown – citizens call for president Bio’s intervention

Amin Kef: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 May 2019:

A concerned constitutionalist has spoken about the many complaints made against Sierra Leone’s  Minister of Lands – Dr. Denis Sandy. He said that the fundamental role of any government is the protection and promotion of the rights and liberties of its citizens, foremost amongst these is the right to own property.

For example, one Madam Yvette Auber Shears is an aggrieved Sierra Leonean who firmly believes that the Minister of Lands behaved outside the scope of the law and outside the remit of his powers, by sending armed security personnel to take over land for which she says she has documents showing ownership inherited from her parents.

What irks Madam Auber most is that Dr. Sandy woefully failed to ask the family to show evidence of their ownership of the said parcel of land before sending armed police to her family property to claim the land.

This and many other complaints have come from the Krios  in Freetown, about Dr. Sandy setting aside ancient ownership rights with utter impunity.

The point being made is that His Excellency President Bio, should be fully aware that the most prized possession that anybody can hand over to his or her children is land, especially one on which a house or houses stand.

If Dr. Sandy is, allegedly, without recourse to legality is going about dispossessing people of their lands, then he is fast creating breeding ground for discontent against the President and his party by an influential section of the populace, that could have serious political and legal implications.

As such, it is high time that President Bio opens his ears to the complaints from the Krios that Dr. Sandy is infringing on their rights to own inherited lands in Freetown, a right they are denied in other parts of the country by legislation.

Land ownership runs down the line from generation to generation, except abrogated through sale or legal forfeiture to the State for public use.

Whilst no one is quarelling with Dr. Sandy over his right to protect and where evidence is available, retrieve State lands, at the same time people have ancient title deeds to lands in the Western Area that date to even as far back as the possession of Freetown as a Crown Colony in 1787 and the return of the captives from Nova Scotia, Jamaica and England, after Lord Mansfield declared slavery illegal in British territories.

Both President Bio and Dr. Sandy as Lands Minister are thereby called upon to have a careful rethink about the issue of ownership of land in the Western Area.

8 Comments

  1. The only way forward is to first of all remove the Military Armed Personnel from the Land repossession as we talk about democracy and a democratically elected President Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio. The Military are all over the Country claiming they have Military Government, No. Let’s start the process as I earlier on said, with the removal of the Military.

    We have one concept known as Military-Aid-To-Civil Power. Whenever there is need for Military intervention in the internal Security of the State, there is a body to evoke that Concept. Do we need that? No. What the Minister is doing is totally unconstitutional and unacceptable to the civil populace, that is why he is using the Military Intervention to grab people’s land in Sierra Leone.

    Bravo to the Sierra Leone Bar Association for this early warning to the Minister and his team. If he listens, its good but if not he has to blame himself in this Country. Where is Dr. Bobson Sesay, the former Lands Minister? Let him rethink and work in the best interest of the Country.

    I believe he as the Minister should be aware of the full rights of all Sierra Leonean and the socio-economic challenges we all faced in this New Direction. A word for a wise is quite sufficient for Dr. Dennis Sandy. I stop here for now.

  2. I think what Dr. Sandy is doing is great. If you have papers, then present it to the office of lands for further review to clarify and claim your land, than talking about ancient and prehistoric ways to claim lands in the capital city.

    • This is absurdity with political influence backed by abuse of authority by the so called Minister. Prehistoric or otherwise, acquisition of land by any citizen is the ancestral rights of the land owner. The citizens were there and owned the lands before the birth of these corrupt politicians and their cohorts.

      Right now, there are unconstitutionalities and lack of rule of law supported by total display of egos. When will the citizens breath the atmosphere with ease? How so interrupted is the right to own and right to privacy? True test of leadership abilities is to recognize problems and to rectify those problems. When problems starts from up-to-down that’s poor management.

  3. The Krios have always been the target for such coveteous claims by people from the provinces. This is because in their home areas they can hold land, only at the pleasure of the Paramount Chiefs, whereas in the Western Area, they can buy and own land without restriction.

    • You are perfectly right Jere. That will change if someone like me who has the potential of becoming a PARAMOUNT CHIEF or PRESIDENT takes over. Things should have been far better if CHIEF SAM SUMANA should have clinched the APC LEADERSHIP to become President. It’s a SHAME that it did not happen. Don’t worry. Things will change. AMEN AND AMEN.

  4. Saidu Conteh again with his conscience conflicting views on a very serious topic that needs cool head to comment on.
    Before I go further, I would like Saidu Conteh to reference on this article of april 22 2019 – Sierra Leone now has a Special Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court. To make it easy Gentleman Saidu Conteh, here is the link – https://www.thesierraleonetelegraph.com/sierra-leone-now-has-a-special-anti-corruption-division-of-the-high-court/. Please reply to my questions.

    I intend to control the narrative so that you won’t dodge or hide from from the facts. First of all, as you usually do, you are completely taking what the editor was trying to say out of context. It will be very good if you could just read the article properly before making any shameful and vague comments.

    Just read this quote from the editor – ‘“I am sure President Maada Bio had no such plans in his New Direction. This is the same minister that served under the APC and now SLPP. Going on a new direction, one cannot afford to carry a bad onion. Mr Minister we live in a democratic country. There is a rule of law.’. Discuss.

    I don’t think Madam Yvette Auber Shears will be happy with your views on this very important issue. Your views do not help in any way to solve the problem. What Madam Yvette Auber Shears is looking for, is solution to a disturbing issue that should not happen in the first place. I think, it should have been better to stay silent on this issue to help find a peaceful solution.

    By the way, this is a very straight forward issue that does not warrant any political bungling commentary. It is a matter of right and not privilege, which I believe will be sorted out peacefully without any divisive thoughts like yours.

    I have another question for you. Do you have a solution on how to assist in resolving this problem? Please reply and don’t forget that my questions to you keep piling up, which makes me control the narrative and put the pressure on you until you respond. If you criticise, give solutions to the problems and be a responsible commentator. Dodging and hiding under the radar won’t help.

    Saidu Conteh, this is what I would advise Dr. Sandy to do for such an unfortunate situations not to happen again in the future. First of all, the Minister through the appropriate authorities must ask landowners for the correct or valid documentations, before impounding people’s land.

    Also, the minister through his department of lands must look into similar cases and take immediate actions. He could brief the President through cabinet meetings or any other appropriate channel to discuss how such situations should be dealt with if it proves complex. The president can then ask parliament to introduce legislation to protect people facing such problems so that, their lands will be protected for ever by law. I hope there is such legislature already.

  5. It never ends…once you think this inept, ineffective government cannot sink incompetently lower than where they are presently…Boooom! They surprise you and plunge themselves headlong into the lowest, most humiliating depths you never imagined possible.

    The right to own, protect, and preserve property is a fundamental right of every citizen, yet these dullards now in power are clueless about such a thing, using their authority instead to trample on the rights of innocent Citizens.

    The Krios are usually strict, honest, disciplined and law abiding; and they are intelligent and highly connected. As long as they are right on this issue, rest assured, this inadequate government is going to have their hands full trying to deal with them.

    Whats wrong with Dr Sandy? He should have known its always a long process before any legitimate government can seize land from citizens, that are deemed to be the rightful owners.

    Yes, they are the rightful owners until government can prove otherwise. It is a tedious process consisting of endless deliberations and meetings between both parties involved. And remember, the resolving and settling of issues and claims of land ownership, is no small matter at all. It sometimes involves a multitude of lawyers, witnesses and family members who are skeptical and concerned about the motives and intentions of government.

    It is a painstaking process in which valid documents are produced, authenticated and examined overand over again…No hurry at all! Such a process could take many years and for the sake of equity and credibility, it is never done in a hurry Folks. Pay close attention, that military mindset of Mr President is finally beginning to unveil its repulsive and unsightly face!

    Someone like Dr Sandy that doesn’t understand the basics of the inner workings of government and the responsibilities of the office he is holding should be removed from there – ASAP – plucked like a bad fruit and thrown to rot somewhere else. I don’t care if he gives the SLPP a bad name, but tarnishing the image and reputation of the office he is holding is unacceptable and another matter altogether.

    This is another test for State House. Its time to find out if their loyalties are to themselves or the good citizens of Sierra Leone!…Rising Sun Will Rise Again!

    • Well said in a nutshell Mr. Sahr Matturi. I agree with everything you mentioned.

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