The Sierra Leone Land Alliance (SLLA), a consortium of civil society organisation, has called on President Julius Maada Bio to relieve the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security , Mr. Abu Bakarr Karim of his duties following land grabbing allegation at River Number 2 in the Western Area Rural District.ย 

The Director of SLLA, John Paul Bai told a news conference in Freetown on Tuesday that “having gone through the ‘Land Complaints and Dispute Resolution Committee’ report submitted to Bio on the 7th October, 2021, it is clear that Mr. Abu Bakarr Karim is guilty of Land grabbing at No.2 River outside Freetown.”

“The report clearly implicates the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security for land theft and gross violation of high Court ruling and depriving citizens of River Number 2 land allocated to them including the Sierra Leone Police by the Browne-marke family. “

Part of the land in question has been allocated to the community for the construction of Community Centre, Market, Police Post and Church by the Browne-Marke family.

Director of SLLA, John Paul Bai said the Land Complaints and Dispute Resolution Committee Complaint report confirms the Sierra Leone Land Alliance Policy Brief 2021 that government officials conspired with well-connected politicians and village headman Abdul Thuram Conteh to grab the Land of the Browne-Marke family.

The Committee found out that the Browne-Marke Family conveyance dated 26th October 1970 was genuine. The Committee also found out that the Land has multiple encroachers. The Committee recommended that the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning should relocate all occupants with leases from them and ensure that the Browne-Marke family reclaim their land.

Sierra Leone Land Alliance further notes that the report makes many far reaching recommendations on the principles of addressing the perennial problem of land grabbing in the Western areas and the Constitutional Framework for Land Administration and Management.

Paul Bai said that it is because of making such a far-reaching recommendation that the report concluded that the Constitutional changes affecting land policy, including the new institutional administrative framework ought to be entrenched in new Constitution.

“With the new Constitutional dispensation in progress,ย  the two bills that are underway (the customary land bill 2021 and the National Land Commission bill 2021) should be enshrined in the Constitution and be made part and parcel of human rights. It is only through comprehensive land reforms that the rate of land grabbing will be adequately addressed. ”

The Director said that the implementation of the Alhaji Murtada Sesay’s-led Committee Report has been hindered by lack of political will and support, because most of the Beneficiaries of the land grabbers are politically connected.

Land Complaints and Dispute Resolution Committee indicated in its report that, the conveyance of Browne-Marke family dated 26th October 1970 was genuine; the land has multiple encroachers; surveyors of Ministry of Land Julius Saffa to prepare reports on the extents of the Browne-Marke family; and Ministry of Lands should relocate all occupants with leases and ensure that the Browne-Marke family reclaim their land.

According to Premier News, the Minister of Lands Dr. Tuad Senessie earlier vowed to ensure the implementation of all the recommendations of Land Complaints and Dispute Resolution Committee to bring to land issues in the country.

The Sierra Leone Land Alliance is a civil society organisation that seeks to mobilise the people of Sierra Leone for the realisation of land reforms, which we consider to be indispensable to the realisation of environmental security and the survival of our nation.