Elders of Bakau yesterday walked into the offices of The Standard, visibly upset with what they described as “unfair treatment” of the people of Bakau by giving away their communal land without compensation.
Councilor Lamin Dibba of Old Bakau Cape Point Road, councilor Binta Janneh-Jallow of Newtown/Fajara, Musu Bojang, Adama Jallow, Dembo Jammeh alias Boss Jammeh, Lang K Sanneh, Landing Dukulo Jatta and former National Assembly member Kalifa Jammeh who visited The Standard on behalf of Bakau Community Committee, have complained that for over 25 years government keeps grabbing land belonging to Bakau and allocating to other settlements or individuals without compensation.
A list shown to The Standard indicated a staggering 69 million dalasi paid to Half-Die settlers in Banjul, with some receiving as much as six million as a compensation for the expansion of the sea port which affected many households.
The elders said Bakau, whose land is now being allocated to the Half-Die people, deserves an even bigger compensation.
“If you even ask someone where Bakau Kunku is, they wouldn’t know. Where did Kanifing start and finish? They have now taken all our land and given it to places and called it Kanifing South. Kanifing, which was just few compounds is now bigger than Bakau; they have cannibalised our land.
“From MDI to prisons in Jeshwang, all belong to Bakau. Imagine they even built a hospital on a land that belongs to Bakau and call it Serekunda Hospital. Bakau has been partitioned by government and shared among private owners without any compensation. We don’t want any problems, we just want what is ours,” Boss Jammeh demanded.
He added: “That square land in front of Social Security belongs to Bakau; we had initially wanted to make it a green zone but we have realised that it has now been cut into pieces and sold to individuals. I’m pretty sure they will soon call that part too Kanifing South. We are deeply offended.”
Councilor Dibba noted: “The elders are right. I remember when we were young, we used to hunt around these areas up to Bakoteh but now it has all been taken away. Even the citizens of Bakau are now acquiring land in places like Busumbala because government has taken away their land. Even if you want to develop something in Bakau, you cannot because there is no land.”
A petition signed 17 years ago regarding land grabbing in Bakau was also shown to The Standard and, according to the elders, the issue keeps getting worse with more prime lands taken from Bakau. But Lang K Sanneh said this time they are serious about it.
“If you want to talk to them about serious matters, they would say they are going to conferences. Well let them go to conferences, but this matter must be solved now,” he vowed.
Kalifa Jammeh said they will meet the minister of lands and other stakeholders beginning today, and solve this perennial land issue once and for all.