Friday, July 19, 2019

Government Against Land/Forest Encroachment

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Madiba Singhateh

The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Environment Pateh Jah has said that their ministry and the Government are against the land and forest encroachments.

Mr. Jah made these remarks in an interview with the reporter concerning Land issues especially the forest areas that are been encroached and bulldozed in Bamba and Nyambai forest parks.

The permanent secretary and other officials visited the affected sites of the forest that were bulldozed.

According to Mr. Jah, Modou Jammeh claims to have got the Land he cleared from his uncle. He said they are not happy about it and they will endeavour to take all measures to protect the forest.

“The visit we had there was to quickly coordinate the boundary of the forest and currently the Ministry for Regional Government and Lands is working to establish the boundaries,” he said.

He added that if they establish the boundaries, they will sit as a team and clearly mapped out the boundary and have it signed by the responsible ministries.

He said they want to extend this to all community and national forest parks.

“Currently what is happening in this country in terms of Land grabbing is alarming. There are real estates coming up and are encroaching on forest parks which are cause for concern and we need to take concerted efforts to stop this, because if not as time goes on we will not have any forest in this country,” he said.

He said the forest is important for our social needs, and not for human only but the ecosystem and to wildlife that used it for their habitats.

He said they need concerted effort to stop the encroachment.

He added that many people think the NAWEC Poles constitute the boundary not knowing that the Bamboo forest is also part of the forest and there are maps dating back to the 60s which they want to compare and align with the map.

He said once they establish that and find out that those lands are in the forest, they will take legal action and seek compensation for damaging the forest property.

He said they have even spoken to civil servants who were working in the Bamboos in the 80s.

He concluded that he wants to propose to the Ministry of Land to strengthen the land used policy for forest parks and recreation centres.

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