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Land Commission consults on land reform

By Edward Kennedy
A scene of an attempt to settle a land conflict in part of Liberia
A scene of an attempt to settle a land conflict in part of Liberia

(lbsonline/Liberia)-The Land Commission has begun putting in place measures for a reform in land acquisition in Liberia.

According to the Land Commission Chairman, Dr. Cecil Brandy, the entity has formulated a land rights policy and is conducting a three -day regional consultative meetings.

Dr. Brandy said: “The consultative meetings are aimed at soliciting public views, comments, opinions and suggestions on the draft policy document.”
”These consultative regional meetings will provide the platform for every Liberian to have an input in the land reform process,” the Land Commission Chairman said.

Dr. Brandy made the comments Thursday, January 22, 2013 at the opening session of the discussion at the Monrovia city hall.

Montserrado County Representative, Gabriel Nyenkan, also made statements at the Monrovia meetings.

Mr. Nyenkan told participants:”I look forward to seeing a draft legislation that will make dubious and illegal land sale in the country as a non billable criminal offense”. “Such measure will prevent people in the habit of selling a portion of land to more than one person,” Representative Nyenkan said.

The Montserrado County lawmaker also spoke of the need to preserve land for posterity to avoid Liberians being squeezed into slums while the land is left for the rich, especially concessionaires.

“If concessions are meant for Liberians, then government must first create space for the citizens to live and thereafter benefit from the concessions”, he said.

Meanwhile, the three day Monrovia regional consultative meeting ended Thursday with participants endorsing the draft land rights policy.

The participants also advanced several recommendations, some of which will be embedded into the draft policy document.

Amongst other things, the participants want punitive measures instituted against individuals in the habit of selling a piece of land to more than one person.

The Vice Chairman of the Land Commission, Walter Wisner, said:” The commission has sent draft legislation to the National Legislature to punish not just dubious land dealers, but also buyers and surveyors.”

The Monrovia consultative meeting will be followed by another gathering in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County from the 30th of January to the first of February, 2013.
The draft document provides the Land Commission policy recommendations for land rights in Liberia.

The policy recommendations are centered on four basic categories of land, namely “private land, customary land, public land and government land.

Mr. Wisner said: “The policy document will form the basis of a new land rights law and it is the foundation for reforming Liberia’s land sector.”


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