Land grabbers on the rampage in Sierra Leone
Encroachers are rapidly damaging the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary (TCS) catchment areas at Regent Village outside Freetown.
In spite of several complaints to the line Ministries of Lands, the Environment, Water Resources, Energy and Tourism respectively, the land grabbers are having a field day and even State House has not helped the worsening and alarming situation that is a clear affront to government.
People are wondering that it is getting too late to protect the buffer zone that the TCS has protected for over 30 years and the benefits are so numerous to mention for both flora and fauna.
On 8th July 2021, officials of the National Protected Area Authority (NPAA) stopped the land grabbers but they came back in large numbers and are causing massive destruction and clearing the area.
From all indications, it seems as if no one has the guts to challenge them.
It must be noted that the areas they are clearing are next to such a sensitive area as the dam that supplies water to Regent and its environs and is also the site for the Number One Tourist Destination in the country.
“Government is just paying lip service to promoting TCS as the Number One Tourist Destination in the country when in actual fact it is not serious:,” Fitzgerald Ellis observed.
Secondly, the World Bank is funding an innovative center and botanical gardens through the Ministry of Tourism in the area that has been earmarked for expansion of the Tacaguma stream catchment, the reason the Ministry of Water Resources must swiftly intervene.
This area has been protected for over 30 years to create a buffer zone for the wildlife sanctuary. It is one of the catchment areas that are feeding the Charlotte mini-hydro-power facility, the reason the Ministry of Energy must also intervene.
The question many people are asking is how can people grab land without signed documents from the Ministry of Lands and why can’t all these Ministries come together to put a stop to this madness and find a permanent solution to an issue that threatens state security.
Furthermore, are all Sierra Leoneans and none citizens going to be silent spectators and see the demise of the country’s Number One Tourist Destination that has put Sierra Leone on the global map?
Mr. Roland Reffle, a 70 year-old retired civil servant and resident of Regent Village lamented, “I feel sorry for Sierra Leone that top government functionaries/Ministries and Departments cannot stop heightened lawlessness and unpatriotic hoodlums. How can anyone claim these buffer zones next to such a sensitive area, the country’s Number One Tourist Destination and it seems nobody cares? This will never happen in the developed or serious countries.”
By Kongbap Sumner
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