By Ransford Lube Metzger
Krios across in Freetown have planned to hold a ‘naked’ protest if the President Julius Maada Bio fails to intervene and caution his appointed Minister of Lands, Dr. Denis Sandy against intimidating the Krios over their personally owned lands.
The Krios’ complain is just one among the many complaints made against Minister Sandy since he was appointed by His Excellency to head that ministry.
According to the Krios who are not happy with what they described as the excesses of the minister in grabbing their pieces of land in the name of reclaiming state land, the fundamental role of any government is the protection and promotion of the rights and liberties of its citizens, foremost amongst these is the right to own property.
The Krios firmly believe that the minister behaved outside the scope of the law and outside the remit of his powers, by sending armed security personnel to take over land for which they say they have documents showing ownership inherited from their parents.
They claimed that Dr. Sandy woefully failed to ask the families to show evidence of their ownership of the said parcels of land before sending armed police to their family properties to claim the land.
This and many other complaints have come from the Krios in Freetown, about Dr. Sandy setting aside ancient ownership rights with utter impunity.
The point being made is that His Excellency President Bio, should be fully aware that the most prized possession that anybody can hand over to his or her children is land, especially one on which a house or houses stand.
If Dr. Sandy is, allegedly, without recourse to legality is going about dispossessing people of their lands, then he is fast creating breeding ground for discontent against the President and his party by an influential section of the populace, that could have serious political and legal implications.
As such, it is high time that President Bio opens his ears to the complaints from the Krios that Dr. Sandy is infringing on their rights to own inherited lands in
Freetown, a right they are denied in other parts of the country by legislation.
Land ownership runs down the line from generation to generation, except abrogated through sale or legal forfeiture to the State for public use.
Whilst no one is quarrelling with Dr. Sandy over his right to protect and where evidence is available, retrieve State lands, at the same time people have ancient title deeds to lands in the Western Area that date to even as far back as the possession of Freetown as a Crown Colony in 1787 and the return of the captives from Nova Scotia, Jamaica and England, after Lord Mansfield declared slavery illegal in British territories.
Both President Bio and Dr. Sandy as Lands Minister are thereby called upon to have a careful rethink about the issue of ownership of land in the Western Area.