The Land Coordination Center (LCC) in Margibi County through an exhaustive mediation process recently resolved a longstanding and chaotic land conflict involving two families in Jlazon, Lower Margibi County.
This landmark accomplishment by the LCC came to fruition as result of an extensive mediation effort exerted by the center in collaboration with dispute resolution practitioners trained to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process coupled with the willingness and cooperation of the disputants to amicably resolve their violent prone land conflict .
The land conflict ensued nearly four years ago when one of the disputants Mr. Luther Jacob, returned from United States and realized that a party to the just ended land conflict, Mr. Kingstone Pyne, reportedly built a three bed room house on a portion of his 4.25 acres of land without his (Luther Jacob) consent and endorsement.
In reaction to the illegal occupation of his land, Mr. Jacob on one occasion decided to use bulldozer (yellow machine) to demolish the three-bed room house constructed by Kingstone Pyne as a means of regaining access to his land.
The decision to demolish Mr. Pyne’s house at the time provoked serious tension and resulted to stone throwing at Mr. Jacob by angry youths who were resisting the demolition plan. They nearly set ablaze the bulldozer brought to pull down Mr. Pyne’s dwelling home.
The timely intervention of some elders from the clan helped to calm the situation at which time Mr. Jacobs was advised to make a formal complaint to the Land Coordination Center in Kakata for possible resolution, an advice he accepted.
Based on the plea by elders of the clan, on May 8, 2014, Mr. Luther K. Jacob brought a formal written complaint to the LCC in Kakata in which he mentioned that Mr. Pyne has encroached and built on his parcel of land situated in Jlazon without his consent.
Due to the degenerating conflict nature of the case, Marigbi LCC on June 6, 2014, embarked on the mediation process with a site visit to the disputed spot along with the contending parties and some local leaders from Jlazon community.
Following series of mediation conferences both in Kakata and Jlazon , Mr. Pyne honestly disclosed to the mediation team that the area in dispute belongs to Mr. Luther Jacob but could not afford losing the land due to the investment he has already made in the area in the property.
The both parties, however, reached a compromise involving the grantor of the land, during which it was agreed that Mr. Jacob be relocated since Kingstone Pyne has already developed the land in dispute.
In accepting Mr. Pyne’s appeal, Mr. Jacobs requested the Land Coordination Center to prepare a memorandum of understanding between the both parties to further consolidate his acceptance of Mr. Pyne’s request.
On March 15, 2015, all of the parties including family members and community leaders witnessed the formal signing of the MOU, which brought to an end the conflict between the two families.
During the signing ceremony, Mr. Jacobs expressed appreciation to the Land Coordination Center for the support and the mediatory role of the practitioners, which helped to resolve the conflict through the Alternative Dispute Resolution method.
He acknowledged the fact that it took relatively short period of time with no cost attached, to reach a resolution. “It would have otherwise taken a longer period of time with a huge cost attached before reaching such an amicable resolution”. Mr. Jacob expressed in a rather reconciliatory mood.
Mr. Kingston Pyne also expressed similar sentiment to the Land Coordination Center and lauded his former rival for the level of cooperation exhibited during the mediation process.
Both families are now peacefully co-existing and their relationship is further strengthened due to the intervention of the Margibi LCC.
Land conflicts in Margibi County remain a daunting task in tacking because land stands at the heartbeat of most citizens. However, Margibi LCC is leading the crusade to ensure citizens accept the ADR process in settling their land conflicts void of confrontations.