As the commercial city of Ganta, in Nimba County, expands and more people begin to seek settlement there, the Mayor, Amos N.G. Suah, has begun a survey of projects, to demarcate all parcels of land belonging to government and to prevent individual claims and encroachments on them.
“The survey began a week ago and will continue until all properties belonging to government are demarcated and deeded,” Mayor Suah told the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview on August 13, 2018.
According to him, the project was solely initiated by the Ganta City Authority, with consent of the city council to seek the interest of the public and the government, asserting that many a time the government wants to use a portion of land to carry out certain development projects but is hampered by a lack of land space.
Mayor Suah added that parcels of land were set aside for the government in past administrations, but selfish individuals, who represented government at the time, surveyed and deeded portions of those properties in their own names, thereby causing the public to lose its entitlement.
He said the exercise is in the best interest of the government, since those properties will be deeded and, when cases arise in court, government will have no need to panic about title deeds.
He noted that government loses cases in land issues most of the time because there can be no evidence to substantiate its claims to the disputed land.
“This is the essence of the exercise we are carrying out, and I have been successful over the past few days. Right now the land that belongs to the government in Ganta is about 17 acres,” Mayor Suah said.
Specifying parcels of land that have already been surveyed, Mayor Suah said they have secured 4.54 acres at the civil compound, 9.12 at the cemetery, and another 4 acres at the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) compound currently used by the Jungle Energy Corporation (JEC).
Having secured these areas and still following the rest, the Ganta Mayor said: “I can boast of having properties for the government in Ganta, and I will not have to panic when there is a project that requires giving land. We can point out any of those areas for construction of a playground or a sub police depot, since Ganta is rapidly expanding.”
While speaking to this paper at the main Ganta Port of Entry where the same exercise was ongoing, Mayor Suah said, “From the border where we are today, we will be going to the LPMC area and then the Public Works yard.”
Some portions of the land have been encroached upon by local dwellers, but Mayor Suah said the ongoing survey is meant to secure the ones still vacant, so that it will not be overtaken by illegal occupants; after which, according to him, the city council will decide what happens to those who have encroached on government land.
One area being encroached upon is the Public Works yard that contains two lots. According to Mayor Suah, people have encroached on the land because a resident engineer allegedly surveyed and deeded some portions of the land in his name; something that has sparked public concern. But the engineer (name and contacts withheld) has been invited to give clarifications.
Ganta, as a rapidly growing city with a huge concentrated population, may soon find itself faced with acute sanitation crisis, if the city government does not take preventive measures.
Mayor Suah said they have won a US$48,000 sanitation project from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and it is to supply the GCC materials and provide training for workers.
Mayor Suah said USAID has already provided them 150 trash cans, 100 pieces of boots and 100 pieces of wheelbarrow, among others.
However, the Mayor said two major problems they have in addressing sanitation in Ganta are the lack of a dumpsite and cemetery. For the dumpsite, he said a piece of land has been donated but is in dispute. However, they are in negotiations with the conflicting parties, to resolve the issue in order to possess the land.
Ganta is a highly populated city in Nimba, contributing to that county’s high population. The current population of Ganta City, according to the World Bank, is 13, 802.