All land in Kombo belongs to the state - PS Sanyang tells Journalists
Amid mounting tension as a result of land disputes, state sanctioned demolition of properties in Kombo, in particular, Sukuta Salagi, Buba Sanyang, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands & Local Government has told reporters that Kombo has been designated state owned by the government and as such department of physical planning has the constitutional mandate to dermacate areas of land in Kombo for state use. This include dermacating areas for the provision of social amenities, housing for Gambians, as a reserve land and other uses as deemed fit by the state.
PS Sanyang was speaking at a Press Conference on Tuesday organised by Dept of Physical Planning to address the Sukuta Salagi demolition and other land matters in the Kombos. Kombo has been an epicentre of land disputes in the country, with Brufut, Sukuta, Farato, Yundum, Gunjur among the places infested with land issues that should be a concern to every Gambian.
Physical planning department has come under increasing pressure from Kombonkas who accuse them of grabbing land from the communities which are then sold to private businesses or individuals as well as fraudulently allocated to people who should not have been allocated these plots. It came after Sukuta was involved in a fracas with the Police Intevention Unit at a physical planning sanctioned demolition exercise at Salagi were 16 people were arrested including journalist Fatou Jaw Manneh.
Addressing journalist, PS Buba Sanyang denied accusations levelled at the department of physical planning officials for taking land from the community on the false pretences of government use, only for the land to be sold off and also allocated to senior government officials, their family and friends. Put to him that photos of story buildings are shared on social media said to be owned by “corrupt officials” of the physical planning department at the disputed areas, PS Sanyang asked a rhetorical question: “Are you telling me that if someone has worked in the government from 2005, that person cannot save enough money to build themselves a house?” The Ministry of Lands Permant Secretary challenges communities to take any land dispute matters involving physical planning before the courts if they feel that they have a rightful claim to the land. “We are govern by laws in this country and if the courts say we are wrong in taking any land from the community, we will respect and comply with that decision.” He further disclosed that his ministry has written to The Gambia Police to investigate allegations of corruption in the land allocation and other issues and prosecute any official found wanting. Equally, the police should prosecute anyone making those false accusions.