By Oumie Bojang
The Coalition of Progressive Gambians has expressed concern over the recent demolition exercises sanctioned by the Physical Planning Department of the Ministry of Local Government and Lands. The exercises have resulted in the demolition of many structures deemed to be illegally constructed and obstructing traffic.
Part of the statement from the group shared with The Standard reads: “Our concern is why have the people been allowed to use these locations, paying the GRA and the KMC without being informed about the illegal occupation of these locations considering their proximity to the highways and public spaces? It’s also beyond reason, as in the case in Busumbala, where a family was evicted from a compound where they lived and paid rates for decades. This is unacceptable in any progressive society.
Therefore, it would have been very appropriate for the authorities to engage the victims of this exercise in a dialogue prior to the demolition process and we are still calling on the authorities to engage those severely affected considering the high cost of their structures and investments. We also urge landlords and businesses that have encroached beyond their legally defined boundaries to desist from such acts and be law abiding.
It’s known that land and location is very limited in a country less than 12,000 sq kms, so it’s therefore very important for the physical planning, in consultation with the local government authorities, to give land allocation a priority. It’s time to understand that land is the most important natural resource that needs to be given utmost priority, as almost all global conflicts emanate from land issues.”