By: King Brown ( Grand Bassa County Correspondent)
Buchanan City: Tension is breeding between residents of Bacconie Community and the Liberia Government over some acres of land government wants to use for investment purpose in the area.
But the citizens are threatening to resist the move by government and protect their properties if it will cause them loosing their lives and resources to protect their forefather’s inheritance.
However, the citizens are calling on the Grand Bassa County local authority, the Bassa Legislative caucus, international Community and the Liberia Land Authority to intervene into the land controversies between them and the CDC led government headed by President George M. Weah.
Some of those who made the called are, Senior Elder -Stephen Yankoon, Youth Elder- Emmanuel Kieh, Unification Town Chief – Alphanso Dennis, Community Leader- Emmanel Smith, Elder-Isaac Tiah, Emmanuel Moses- Youth, Samuel Wilson- Youth Leader and amongst others.
According to the Citizens, the government of Liberia through the National Sea Port Authority (NPA) headed by Hon. Bill Twehway has allegedly decided to take their forefather’s inheritance including NOCAL and the Liberia Petroleum Refining Companies (LPRC) for their operations.
They also hinted our reporter that there are several other companies expected to come to Grand Bassa County including Billiton Mining Company.
“What NPA is doing now is that, they don’t want to give us anything but just to move us from here.
Just this few days, the government of Liberia through LPRC brought NOCAL oil Company and gave them 300 acres of land to build their fueling station and we learned that Billiton Mining Company is coming in too without consulting the community leaders.
This is very bad for our democracy.” Emmanel Smith, Zone Leader of Air Field Community in Bacconie mentioned.
Speaking further, the citizens of Bacconie community in Grand Bassa County disclosed to our correspondent that they were told by Hon. Twehway that because of the inability of the Monrovia Sea Port to accommodate some bigger vessels, the government of Liberia has decided to relocate them, so that the port of Buchanan can be drag to where they are presently residing.
However, the citizens added that Hon. Twehway and others were not specific as to when the government would being with the Buchanan Sea Port extension, the full operation of NOCAL, LPRC and their relocation benefits.
According to them, following a day dialogue held at the Buchanan Port, Hon. Twehway mentioned that LPRC has 15- thousand acres of land of which the Bacconie community is part of, something which the citizens strongly disagreed with him and termed his statement as untrue.
Emmanuel Kieh, Youth Elder of Bacconie community narrated. “Why should the government ignored the Land Rights Act law and take over 2000 acres of land that don’t belong to them and give it to Nocal Oil Company! We want peace and not problem.
All we are saying here, let all these processes about land stop immediately, so that the community people can identify their customary land. We don’t want to go back to those dark days; land dispute is one of the factors that quick to spark out war and caused chaos.”
Those disenchanted citizens are asking the government to immediately put to stop the planting of Corner stones on their private land, as they call on the Liberia Land Authority to intervene and allow them to firstly identify their land before Nocal, NPA and LPRC can continue their Coner stones planting.
The citizens said even though they embraced development, but are demanding for proper land identification process to be conducted first and an agreement to be signed, that would covered resettlement benefits, relocation, job opportunities, scholarship for their kids, hand pumps, latrines and hospital to be build, empower local farmers residing in Bacconie and among others.
According to them, their major source of living are selling coconut, farming and fishing in the ocean.
Mr. Alphanso Dennis, Bacconie unification Town Chief said, their leaving from Bacconie would greatly affect their lives, Homes, Farms, businesses and drag them in to extreme poverty.
He said they were born and grew up in Bacconie and have established and invested all of their resources to bring the community to where it is today and as such they do not have anywhere else to go with their families.
Speaking further, Senior Elder -Stephen Yankoon, maintained that Bacconie is a community that was established by the Weh and Sakpah generation.
He said the area has over 2-thousand inhabitants and made up of 15 communities with over 10-thousand acres of land which us well noted for producing large quantities of coconut in Liberia.
Some of the citizens of Bacconie Community have threatened to resist the government and anybody who will forcible removed them from their homes to give their land to Concession Companies.
“This place was established by our forefather’s Weh and Sakpah and it is our private properties not for the government.
When LAMCO was here they were paying taxes to our forefather’s for the land occupied by them and to the government. we have our land deed and other essential documents surrounding this land.
If the Liberia government wants to kill us let them go ahead but we and our families are not going anywhere because our investment, resources and entire life is Baccoine.” Elder-Isaac Tiah said.
Others have also threatened to sue the Liberia government to the international community if they do not adhere to the plights and peacefully relocate them with the benefit associated.
The Bacconie community is located in Grand Bassa third administrative districts and fully represented at the House of Representatives by Hon. Matthew Joe.