By Amadou Jadama
Sukuta-Salagi Unity Association has accused Physical Planning and the lands ministry of selling their land to private individuals.
The residents argued that government has confiscated their land, claiming it to be state reserve land but large parts of the land have been sold to private individuals.
Speaking at a press conference as construction of the new market kicks start, Ousman Bojang, who represented the alkalo, said: “The government officials have sold a land of 65×40 x75 that was reserved for public hospital to a private individual called Dr Yankuba Gassama who designed it to build a private hospital. There are so many plots of lands that government has taken from the people of Sukuta, claiming them to be state reserve lands.
We prefer to die than seeing our lands taken from us and sold to individuals. There is no reserve land at Sukuta extension. There were 16 plots of land but they have been sold to individuals now. They have given some of the plots to their family members and friends. There are no reserve lands any more. All the lands have been sold by Physical Planning and local government officials.”
He said the government has taken their lands without any form of compensation.
He further stated that Bojang Kunda and others in Sukuta have given plots of land to the women of Sukuta-Salagi and the satellite communities to build a market but government has claimed that land is reserved for a police station.
According to him, the people of Sukuta have given the police a land of 50×50 to build a station but the remaining 90×60 is for a market.
Maimuna Bah, president of the association, said: “Physical Planning and local government know and we the residents know as well. They do not want their deals to be unveiled but they will be unveiled. We have heard and seen them selling plots of land in Sukuta-Salagi,” she said.
Asked whether Salagi residents have seen government officials selling land, she responded: “It is a fact that the government officials sold plots of land that were claimed to be the state reserve lands in the community. That plot of land was reserved for a public hospital but they have sold it to a private individual who would build a private hospital.”
Lamin Cham, a community activist, described the land dispute as dreadful. He said the residents of Sukuta-Salagi have forgotten about the plots of land that have been already sold and developed.
Mr Cham added that government should return those lands that have not been developed to their rightful owners. “We understand that three layouts have been removed from Sukuta territory but according to the Constitution, government should take only one layout from a community,” he said.
He said if government is to identify a layout, it should discuss with the community. “Government can take land for public usage but should not take our land and give it to others without compensation.”
He advised the new minister, Abba Sanyang to set up a competent panel to investigate land issues in Sukuta-Salagi.