The Chairman of the Liberia Land Authority (LLA), Dr. Cecil O. Brandy, says his institution is to shortly carry out an awareness exercise across the country on the new Land Rights Law.
He said the exercise will educate the citizens and ensure land tenure security. Dr. Brandy made the disclosure recently in Monrovia to stakeholders at the 5th Multi-stakeholders workshop on the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land (VGGT), Fisheries, and Forest and the Land Rights Act process.
According to him, the act mandates the LLA to implement several requirements within a period of twenty-four months.
The new land law act was passed on September 4, 2018, by the 54th Legislature after it had been in oblivion by past lawmakers for the last four years.
Brandy stated that there are many requirements relating to the new land law that must be completed to enhance implementation.
He named the registration of all lands, including private, government, public and customary, as some of the requirements that the LLA and stakeholders must work to ensure their speedy implementation.
“We must work harder to ensure that these mandates within the law are fully met within the stipulated time frame. The implementation of these requirements will solely depend on our stakeholders as the LLA will play only a regulatory role to ensure proper procedures,” he explained.
Brandy said that most lands in the category of land ownership in Liberia lack legitimate deeds and there is a need that all lands are legalized.
According to him, the LLA is to immediately commence a confirmatory survey of all lands, adding that tribal certificates must be converted into deeds by individuals to rightfully claim their lands.
“We are also mandated to complete the inventory of all public and government lands as well as setting up the governance authority for land in every county to be responsible for its management. There are other issues of defining communities and its membership to avoid the marginalization of people to land ownership,” he said.
He said they must make sure how the members of the community are inclusive for the benefit of all the citizens.
“Those are the many requirements that must be instituted before we start to talk on implementation. We need to establish the criteria for membership for the community. We must make sure that the membership includes women and youth to avoid marginalization,” he said.
He said there is a need for the LLA to put in place criteria for compliance that will define and ensure community boundaries because these are some major issues surrounding the bill.
“Most of our people still possessed tribal certificates that have not been converted into deeds and they are developing these lands on conditions of these certificates. We must collect all tribal certificates and vet them before considering their legitimacy,” he said.
He said some of the requirements under the law have already been worked out by the LLA, with support from stakeholders.
He said that to implement the law, many NGOs working in communities involvement are highly needed, adding that the land authority is hoping to work with The Carter Center, USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI), to carry out the various requirements of the law.
He said to implement the law they will use NGOs working in the communities and their legal structures. Dr. Brandy said the Land Authority must make sure that regulatory measures are put in place to guide the process.
“We need to develop regulations and procedures for defining land rights and obligations relating to the various tenure categories,” he said.
Meanwhile, the land authority chairman has thanked President George Weah and members of the legislature for ensuring the passage of the land rights law.