By Lamin Cham & Oumie Bojang
The Brufut Village Development Committee on Sunday made a clarion call on the local and central government authorities to help the town acquire a land to build a modern multimillion dalasis market.
Brufut is the most deprived community in the whole of Kombo when it comes to government land grabbing. The town lost all its land in the east to the Brusubi Housing Estate, in the west to the Taf Brufut Gardens Project, while its lucrative land in the north, near the sea front has been lost to the government-grabbed Brufut Heights, sold to private individuals.
The two remaining lands, in the south and the remainder of the western angle towards Tanji, have both been reserved as bird watching sites leaving the town with no place to build a market, funds for which have already been acquired.
On Sunday, VDC chairman Omar Manneh told a media conference that funding has been secured from a charity called Casa – Gambia, the Brikama Area Council and the Brufut Diaspora Association but they have not been successful in securing land. He said the most feasible thing is to negotiate with owners of strategically located empty lands in the town, adding that one such owner with whom negotiations have gone far, is now asking for an impossible D30 million.
“We were then advised by the Minister of Lands to search for another option and we indeed succeeded in getting another location owned by one Ebrima Jobe who is willing to give up his land if he would be compensated with a strategically located one,” Chairman Manneh said.
Women leader Mabintou Sannoh urged the heads of the kabilolu and the alkalo to join the VDC in the crusade to secure a suitable land for the project.
A youth leader, Lamin Basse Bojang, explained that the Ministry of Lands is helping the community to get land for the market but the alkalo and his council members are suggesting that it should be built on the reserved land, south of the town while the larger community want it inside the town for security and accessibility reasons.
The Standard went to talk to the alkalo, Malamin Manneh who said he is equally very interested as a village head to have a place for the market and has been mediating between the community and the government over the issue but he has no authority or control over people’s personal properties and cannot force them to give up their land, hence the suggestion by him and his council for the town to use the reserved land. He added that he is convening a meeting of his council members over the issue and would be willing to share comments about its outcome.