MLHCP/PR002/Wednesday February 17 2021: – Members of the Krio Descendants Association has celebrated the new Minister of Lands, Housing and Country Planning, Dr. Turad Senesie, for his first steps in ensuring land justice in the country.
The Minister played host to the group in his Youyi Building Office in Freetown on Wednesday February 17, 2021 as the first of series of national reconciliation engagements in the lands sector. The ‘family meeting’ recorded emotional narrations from the membership of the Krio community which feels disadvantaged over alleged unfair treatment. Minister Turad Senesie started off by reminding the Krios that their welfare concerns are at the heart of the President, thus the rationale to invite them to the meeting to map out the way forward.
“This is the first among series of national reconciliation engagements to restore law, order and calm in the country’s land administration and management system,” he disclosed, while assuring the visitors that he has assumed office with an open mind and a clear mandate to serve the interests of every Sierra Leonean irrespective of tribe, region or political affiliations. “President Bio’s government values and places human dignity and development above any other consideration,” the Minister noted, while stressing that the problems in the land sector can only be addressed with all hands on deck with a sincerity of purpose.
“The time to find a lasting solution to land issues, especially in the Western Area, without resorting to litigations is now,” he pointed out, adding: “It’s also high time we prioritize country planning and housing issues as major components in the sector.”
According to him, the moratorium on land sale and allocation in the Western Area is a first step to return normalcy to the sector that has been marred by controversies for several years. “The report and recommendations that will emanate from the Complaints Committee will form the basis for future actions in land administration and management,” he outlined.
Minister Senesie stated strongly that he will not tolerate any indiscipline or unprofessionalism from staff in the discharge of their duties, while outlining his zero tolerance policy against corruption and professional misconduct.
Vice President of the Krio Descendants Association, Ambassador Haja Alari Cole alongside other members including politician Femi Claudius Cole, all described the move of the Minister as a step in the right direction, while congratulating him on his appointment. They assured the Minister that he will remain in their prayers and receive unflinching support to ensure land justice in Sierra Leone.
They expressed how they feel neglected, disadvantaged and embarrassed, while embracing the olive branch extended to them by the Minister. According to them, they were at the verge of dragging the Government of Sierra Leone to the ECOWAS Court to seek justice for their members whose lands have been retrieved from them in a manner they deem illegal. They advised the minister to rid the ministry of what they described as ‘bad apples’ if only he wants to achieve a meaningful change.