Two legislators appearing on the latest edition of the National Democratic Institute(NDI)and the Liberian Media for Democratic Initiatives(LMDI) USAID sponsored legislative spotlight standard version to share their thoughts on Liberia’s Land reform process have called for a drastic reduction in the level of bureaucracy required in the process of acquiring land in Liberia.
Nimba County Senator Thomas Grupee and Rivercess County Representative Alfred Juweh said duplication of functions by the many land concerned ministries and agencies had become a serious problem for the land sector. Senator Grupee was particularly concerned about the land crisis in his native Nimba County. He lamented the halting of the payment of the parties in the Nimba crisis by the presidential land committee and called for its resumption.
In his recommendations for resolution, Senator Grupee called on central Government to establish policies that would empower the Land Commission to investigate punish and prosecute people involved in illegal land sale or double selling. He also wants the Land Commission to be the only agency authorized to deal with land matters.
For his part, Rivercess County District # 1 Representative, Alfred Juweh, says the lack of respect for traditional land by Government and investors serves as a breeding ground for land conflict in the countryside. He said the acquisition of concession areas by investors are sometimes done in the absence of traditional chiefs and elders who he claims are original owners of the land.
According to Rep. Juweh, as a surveyor himself, he has got the training and experience which he claims are missing in surveyors of today. He called for a regular training for registered land surveyors and drastic punishment for self proclaimed surveyors and double land sellers.
In closing, the two lawmakers agreed that Liberia needs a stringent land reform laws that would save Liberia from a potential deadly land conflict. In recent past Liberia has faced land crises that have resulted in to unprecedented killings and destruction of properties worth millions of dollars.