By Awa B. Bah
Deputies at the National Assembly on Tuesday 2nd April 2019 called on the ministry of local government and Land and all regulatory land authorities to address and regulate the emergence and operations of housing and real estate agencies in the country. This was strongly made during the comments and contributions of NAMs in the adjournment debate of the first ordinary session in the 2019 legislative year.
They noted that incidences of land and land related disputes are increasing at an alarming rate and that it requires immediate attention. The Gambia accordingly is becoming very vulnerable in occupancies and inheritances of land. They said that there is land grabbing everywhere in the country, that there are land problems in every region and district in the country. The Gambia according to them is at a very critical stage, looking at the number of lives and properties lost as a result of land and land related issues.
They said that the mandate of establishing the land commission within the ministry is yet to be realised and that the land commission really needs to acquaint itself with emerging issues surrounding land problems. Land problem in The Gambia, they cried, are urgent and needs urgent issues as there are land problems leading to attacks and trespasses. The issuing of lands by Alkalos, they said, is becoming out of control as there are some areas with more than one Alkalo while others are using the privileges of their positions and responsibilities to get into other people’s lands for their selfish interests.
They however expressed their disappointment and dissatisfaction in the way and manner in which the minister for regional government and lands is handling issues of land and land related problems highlighted by the deputies during their engagement. They alleged that the minister has never appeared or failed for nine months to address the National Assembly on land issues concerning his ministry. They called on the minister to take up his responsibilities, if not let him declared himself as incompetent and vacate the position for eligible young Gambians. This, according to them is not fair.
On the issue of housing agencies, they noted that the emerging of real and housing estate agencies is getting out of control as they are on the increase on daily basis as if there are no Acts or Regulations to guide their functions. They said that the real estate agencies are intruding into government reserved land and other individual properties. One of the NAMs said that there is a new housing estate in Makumbaya right in the middle of the airport reserved land. They indicated that the estate agencies need to account for how they acquired land and from whom, alleging that some of them might not be even registered.
They called on the authorities to look into the land and land related issues so as to put an end to land violence. They noted that their questions in relation to land issues has not been addressed by the minister and that it is his responsibility to update sitting members on current interventions under his purview. They also called for an Act to regulate the position of real estate and housing agencies as it is on the increase.