Several residents of Liberia Mining Town of Yekapa are said to be facing a problem owing to the demolition of their homes upon the order of the Management of Arcelor Mittal.
During the visit of this reporter to Yekapa recently, many new homes under construction were seemed to be raided down by the order of the company.
Over 38 family heads with nearly 300 dependents are said to be greatly affected by the demolition exercised.
“We are greatly affected by this exercise because we do not have anywhere to go, when the company will evict us tomorrow,” said Abraham Saah, a resident of the area “N”.
Abraham Saah, an apprentice working with the YMCA as tailor explained that Mittal is anticipating in relocating them from the company houses and so they decided to build something for themselves in a vacant land outside of the camps, but unfortunately began bulldozing their newly constructed homes.
“I am a tailor, training the young people here in tailoring,” he said.
He added, even though the land in questioned belong to the company, but added that because they do not have anywhere when they driven from the company houses so they decided to occupy the vacant lands.
Alex Yekay, a resident and citizen of the Yekapa expressed outrage over the behavior of Mittal by breaking down the newly constructed building.
He added they who are the original citizens of this land are greatly affected by the encroachment of these lands by the company, leaving us to have nowhere to for farming and doing other things.
“We do not have anywhere to go so we were forced to do something here to live in whenever they evict us tomorrow,” said Alex Yekay.
When visited some of the affected areas including areas “L, N” this reporter saw many new homes raided down by bulldozers.
Most of the raided houses were as guaranteed to compare to what the company has.
Nearly all of the demolished houses were built by Sun dried bricks known as dirt brick and seemed to be sub – standard structure.
However, the Management of Mittal through their spokesperson, Jerry Mwagbe told this at his office in Yakapa on 13th January 2015 that those new houses were built illegally and without the concern of the company.
He said some of the houses were built not considering environmental problem, sewer line and among things so the management decided to demolish them as early as possible.
He also the citizens were warned on many occasions not to build anything on the land without the concern of the company, but they refused to adhere to the warning, something the affected occupants disputed.
“We asked for permission many times, but they couldn’t say no or yes until we started building our houses on these vacant lands,” said Eric Yarwieh, a resident of the area “L”.
“Without any notice they began breaking down houses with bulldozers leaving in huge, expensive,” he added.
There is a mass exodus of people from across Liberia to Yekapa, making the once famous mining town congested, something that is likely to embarrass the company in time of renovating the remaining camps which are now by occupied non company workers.
With the issue of eviction hanging over non company workers, most of the residents are rushing to land in the nearby camp called “Camp # 4” which almost a kilometer from Yekapa.