The municipal government of the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) in Paynesville, Montserrado County, has stepped in and taken a position in the wetlands conflict between farmers of Zubah Town, Du-Port Road, and one Madam Oretha Logan.
Madam Logan claims that the area being cultivated belonged to her grandparents.
According to the PCC, the 25 acres of farmland in question do not belong to any particular person. The land belongs to the Government of Liberia.
PCC’s statement was issued against the backdrop of a nearly seven-year land crisis between the parties mentioned above.
The dispute dates back to 2008 when Madam Logan took her case to the Civil Law Court.
But members of the Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP) claim to have received the land from PCC for agriculture purpose.
Mr. Augustus Kpakolo, director for Technical-City Planning at the PCC sounded off on the case on Tuesday, February 18, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer, at his Paynesville’s office.
According to Mr. Kpakolo, wetlands are restricted areas under the law governing land ownership in Liberia. As such, they may be used for agricultural purposes when requested by community people.
He confirmed that the Zubah Town farmland was handed over to (CHAP) in 2008 for food production and as such no one has the right to stop the farmers from using it.
The Director said that the decision had been made in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA).
“We cannot understand why someone will claim the marshes as their property. This land issue has been brought to our attention by CHAP members. They complain that they have been harassed when they do their planting. We want to make it emphatically clear that the community (CHAP) has the right to the land to farm.
Mr. Kpakolo did not however disclose whether the recent position of his institution had been communicated to Madam Logan who alleged that the land had belonged to her grandparents.
“The City Corporation does not even know this lady; and she has not brought her claims to our attention. But if CHAP reports that a portion of the land was ‘sold,’ we will launch an investigation into the matter,” he explained.
“To sell swampland is a criminal act and is punishable under the law,” he added.
When contacted via mobile phone yesterday, Madam Logan insists that she remains determined to pursue her case with the Civil Law Court.
“I am not concerned over the decision of the City Corporation, because they are not aware of this matter. What I look forward to, is for the judges to one day establish the facts concerning this case,” she said over the phone.