By Louise Jobe

Alieu Gibba, a village elder of Faraba Banta, told this reporter that it is not only the youths of the village who refuse the presence of ‘Julakay’ Company to mine sand from their rice growing areas of their women villagers, but the entire village. Gibba asserted that he is a farmer and depends solely on farming to feed his family; that allowing sand mining in the ‘faros’ where the village women have their rice farms, will jeopardise efforts to become self-sufficient in food.

Kebba Sannoh, another elder of the village, refuted the claim that village elders consented to ‘Julakay’’s wish to mine sand from the rice growing areas of women villagers; that such industrial sand mining in their village is not acceptable. Sannoh stressed that for Julakay to mine sand from the ‘faros’ of the village, is not in their interest; that the area is the only place where they depend for rice farming to feed the entire village and even sell surpluses, when the season is good and there is bumper harvest; that if that land is given to a Company to dig a quarry, they will be doomed because they will not have anywhere to farm. He pleaded to the Government of Adama Barrow to intervene and solve this pertinent problem as soon as possible.

Sulayman Jarju another village elder lamented the same issue like his fellow elders; that ‘Julakay’ Company consulted two of his brothers to use their land; that the Land where ‘Julakay’ wants to mine sand from, belongs to their great grandparents who together with their parents, planted palm and other fruit trees that ‘Julakay’ Company cut down to create a road to the site. Jarju said if the Alkalo and a few elders of the village decided to sell the rice fields to ‘Julakay’ Company without considering them and their livelihood that is wrong; that this is what they did not agree with.

Binta Saidy another elder of the village, concurred with her male colleagues on the issue and said Government should come to their aid.

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