Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 May 2019:
After several weeks of anger and frustration felt across the Krio community in Freetown over accusations of forceful land grabbing by the ministry of lands, president Julius Maada Bio yesterday met with representatives of the Krio Descendant Union (KDU) at State House.
According to State House report, this meeting was also scheduled as part of the president’s continuous engagements with stakeholders across the country.
Speaking at the meeting, Special Adviser to the President and Ambassador at Large, Dr Kona C. Koroma, recalled that in his first meeting with the Krio Descendant Union after his inauguration, President Bio promised to have periodic engagements with KDU about governance of the state. (Photo above: President Bio and Deputy President of KDU, Ambassador Haja Alari Cole).
She said over the past few days, there have been debates about land issues which have prompted the President to call KDU “for a family dialogue”.
Deputy President of KDU, Ambassador Haja Alari Cole said they are thankful to President Bio for meeting with the KDU representatives, despite his busy schedule.
She added that the meeting demonstrates a true manifestation of a leader who cared for his people. She said as an Association, they are pleased with the gains made so far by the New Direction Government – citing the free quality education and the clearing of Lumley, which she said has eased the traffic burden in that part of the city.
Samuel Valcarcel of KDU said that as an Association, they are faced with challenges which they would like to discuss and resolve amicably with the government.
‘’Last week, we had a general meeting as an Association where we spoke about many of the things affecting us especially the one dealing with land. In the past weeks, we have all been discussing land issue because the Lands Ministry issued a statement challenging the legitimacy of our land documents and that has left us worried.
“Another worrying issue for us is the Land Tenure System which barred Krios from acquiring lands outside Freetown. So we are happy to be here because we believe such an engagement will help resolve these issues,’’ Samuel Valcarcel told the president.
Leader of the Unity Party, Femi Claudius Cole, who also attended the meeting, said she was impressed with President Bio’s timely intervention in the land row, and welcomed discussions with the president, especially at a time the country is preparing for the Bintumani 3 peace and reconciliation conference.
She said that the land issue is creating mixed feelings among people – especially in Freetown, and welcomed government’s move to start finding a way forward for a sustainable solution.
In his response, President Bio said he decided to call the meeting because he knew some members of the Krio community are not happy about land issues in the Western Area. He said he has decided to engage with KDU because dialogue is the best means of finding sustainable solution to the problem.
‘’Our country is one of Rule of Law and that must be accepted by all of us. I have decided to call you all here to let you know that I take your concerns very seriously and that government will look into them.
“We will be developing a framework to put to an end all the land related issues across the country. We want this meeting to be the start of a dialogue process because that is the only way of arriving at the best solutions, as we need a united society that will allow development to thrive,’’ he said.
Concluding his response, President Bio instructed Vice President Dr Juldeh Jalloh to preside over all the concerns expressed by KDU, in relation to disputes over land ownership between the Krio community and the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Environment, for amicable and speedy resolution.
I personally believe that the timing of this meeting is very appropriate. The creoles should be very grateful to the president, since the first proclamation he made in public at the national stadium was to restore the monthly cleaning process, which has improved the wellness of the people of Freetown, and slowly and gradually law and order is slowly but surely returning to our capital. I hope that with the help of the mayor, the government will continue collaborating with the creoles.
The Provincial Land Tenure System Explained: In the Provinces, the Land is owned by the people (family) and the Paramount Chief as custodian. You, I mean any Sierra Leonean can lease and or purchase the land (as freehold) from the rightful family owner and ownership is transferred to you by the signatures of the Paramount Chief and the family.
For example the land that Bo School is on, originally belonged to the Kamanda-Bongay family that was initially leased and eventually became freehold by the Colonial Development Act of 1951. The Government of Sierra Leone does not own any land in the Provinces. Government Buildings are on leaseholds just as most of School buildings or compounds.
It’s only in Freetown that you have Government owned lands or Crown Lands. Even that, it was bought from the likes of Pa Demba (King) hence Pademba Road and Chief/King Tommy (Loko Chief). All the Lands up to Songo Crown/Koya Crown belong to the Government. That’s why you have Songo Crown and Songo Koya in different jurisdictions.
It was the Krio Descendants Union that met President for their land Wahala and indeed in his wisdom he had asked his vice to look into their concerns in line with talk and do minister Hon Dr Sandi. So please Dr Sandi is always ready for the process. To be Frank with you citizens, Dr Sandi and his team (ministry of lands workers) are committed so that everyone will acquire two town lot as long as you use the right channel.
So please let us support him and his team to distribute land in an even manner. And mind you, President Bio is in custody of all lands in the country. Thank you very much for understanding. God bless Mama Salone. Amen.
Mr. Tucker, have you read the article properly? Just read the third to last paragraph. It was President Bio who called the meeting according to the article.
Also, investigation into all land concerns by the CREOLE COMMUNITY has been handed over to the VP and not Dr. Sandy.
This makes it worrisome for Dr. Sandy’s future in that ministry.
By the way, I will try and get my TWO TOWN LOTs before Dr. Sandy leaves.
Thanks Mr. Tucker for your insight.
I am delighted at last that the President has intervened this time around, thereby showing TRUE LEADERSHIP. Is that not AMAZING and COOL? President Bio has won my vote for today. I hope that, the President continues to engage with people and organizations in the future when problems and important issues arise.
So, today is 100 percent for the President. Staying silent on very important national issues is not good for the nation. I think that, I should give credit to myself for always asking the President to take the lead. He has done it this time. Did he hear my message?
Where was the Minister of Lands during this meeting? Are his days now numbered? The fact that the VP is taking over this land dispute problems, must be worrying to Dr. Sandy I reckon. By the way, did the new Minister of Local government play a role in all this? (Talking to myself).
With this assurance from President Bio, everybody will be happy. The PROTECTORATE and COLONY ideology that started has gone away hopefully. The extremists did not get their way. One of the LEGACIES of the late SIR MILTON MARGAI MUST LIVE ON. QUE SERA SERA.
I don’t know where this notion that Creoles cannot acquire land outside of Freetown came from. I know Creoles who have land and houses in the different districts.
Lamin, go read your country’s law books its all in there my friend. Stop being a denier!