Sierra Leone: Minister to Raze all settlements and developments outside Greenbelt area

In an ultimatum on behalf of the government of Sierra Leone yesterday
at the presentation meeting on the preservation of the Western Area
Peninsula Forest Reserve and its catchments the Minister of
Information IB Kargbo warned that anyone erecting a house within the
prohibited areas or beyond the green belt would be demolished.

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He therefore advised all those undertaking construction projects
within the cut off area or prohibited area around the Western area
peninsular to halt until further notice from government.

According to him all construction work and quarrying in the Western Area Peninsular
catchments and forest reserves must stop with immediate effect to
mitigate the current spate of deforestation in those areas.

The Minister noted that efforts to protect the western area peninsula
catchments and forest reserves in the western area must continue to
ensure the availability of reliable sources of water for the
population. He added that, the wave of increased deforestation and
degradation resulting from illegal and negative human activities
including land encroachment, logging, unsanctioned settlements,
farming and charcoal production are all causes of reduction in water
supply to the city.

He said the negative activities of people on forest reserves and water catchments have been viewed by President Koroma as a national security threat and therefore thought it wise to convene a meeting of stakeholders to mechanize a sensitization plan to highlight the adverse effect of those negative activities on the lives of people. In her power point presentation with picture backups, the Deputy Director of Forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security Mrs. Kate Garnett indicated: Adonkia, Dodo village, Angola town, Ogoo Farm, Lakka, Hamilton, Kortu Bama, Leicester Peak and Sugar Loaf at Regent as some of the areas that are extremely affected by deforestation, illegal construction of houses, stonemining and other forms of land degradations in the western area peninsula.

Among the recommendations she presented are : the abolition
of statutory declaration which had led to land grabbing over the
years; the involvement of headmen, councilors and committee members
for the protection of forest reserves and water catchments areas; take
inventories of Guma Valley Water Company assets; urgent rehabilitation
of all reservoirs; regularization of documents for structures within
the forest reserve areas.

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