$7 Dollars Paid Per Acre Sierramin Bauxite (SL) Ltd. In Daylight Robbery
Sierramin Bauxite Sierra Leone Limited, a Bauxite extraction Company, operating in Marampa and Moforkie chiefdoms in Port Loko district, Northern Sierra Leone, stands accused of robbing in daylight, indigenes of the above chiefdoms off their lands as the company allegedly pays $7 per acre. According to report, Sierramin Bauxite made arrangement with local chiefs and blatantly excluded the landowners for a total of 18,000 acres of land at the cost of $7 per acre.
The marginalized landowners accused stakeholders including chiefs and Members of Parliament of deducting Le36,000 from the Le55,000 earlier agreed to pay per acre by the company. During a well-attended meeting held at the Mabureh village past Saturday, land owners accused the Paramount Chief of Lunsar, Bai Koblo Queen of benefitting Le 120 million while landowners were given either Le100,000 or below per family.
According to the disgruntled and neglected landowners, they were not part of the agreement and the company refused to take back the meager amount returned to them.
Investigation revealed that, the agreement between land owners and the mining company underscored that the total acres paid for are 18,000, the total money paid by the company was $105,000 which is equivalent to Le844,675,000. In that huge amount, according to findings, 50% is for the chief and Honorable Members of Parliament in those constituencies and 50% for land owners.
Consoling disgruntled land owners, the representative sent by erudite lawyers from Freetown to investigate the matter, Mr. Bashir Kamara said they were not there to force indigenes to say the wrong thing but to look into the plight of citizens in the surroundings and advised parents to send their children to school because according to him, the people in those community are being deprived because they are uneducated Mr. Bashir Kamara, a son of the soil asked indigenes including Headmen from various villages to explain their concerns for the fact that he said, those lands must benefit children yet unborn and he vehemently spoke about the absolute absence of a primary school in the midst of President Bio’s Government Free Quality School Education and promised to join irate people to fight that advantage.
Mr. Kamara was furious upon hearing and seeing with his own eyes that no school, health center, good road network or other basic amenities provided for the citizens in that part of the country. He admonished land owners that with unity they can regain their land property. The land owners further accused Paramount Chief, Section Chiefs and other stakeholders of not representing the interest of the people but for self-aggrandizement.
According to them, they initially charged the company to pay $30 per acre but the company’s management turned them down until they agreed to pay $7 per acre, a money they said would not take them anywhere except to continue deteriorating their lives. They demanded that the Community Development Agreement should be signed in the full view of village Headmen and the public.
Speaking to indigenes including Headmen from various villages responded that they were not informed during the signing of the Community Development Agreement (CDA) adding that the agreement was signed on behalf of landowner by the Marampa Section Chief, Pa Alimamy Kapen.
According to the dissatisfied citizens, they are not knowledgeable to either the amount of money paid to them or the number of acreages the company paid for because they were not part of the agreement.
The indigenes in sad mood explained that they were not only asked out during the time the Community Development Agreement (CDA) was made but were also not allowed to make any contributions except the Chiefs, MP’s and connected stakeholders taken the sole decision.
Contacting the company’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Councilor Alie Potho as he is commonly called at the company’s operation site, Rogbere Junction, he responded that the Community Development Agreement was made in presence of the National Mineral Agency (NMA), community stakeholders including Paramount Chiefs and Members of Parliament.
He denied allegation that, some land owners received meager amount of Le100,000 and below per family as surface rent payment but accepted the fact that Sierramin Bauxite Sierra Leone Limited paid $7 per acre which is equivalent to Le59,000. He also denied allegation that stakeholders deducted Le 36,000 from the Le59,000 per acre but some landowners who received pittance argued that only Le25,000 entrusted to them by the company per acre.
By Abdulai Mento Kamara
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