Monrovia - Amid the prolonged delay in the passage of the Land Rights Act into law, the Civil Society Working Group on land rights in collaboration with its partners are doing everything possible to ensure the passage of the act.
The group, in collaboration with the Rights and Rice Foundation on Monday, May 2, held a one-day national consultation dialogue with many organizations on the passage of the draft Land Rights Act.
Speaking at the occasion, the chairman of the Land Authority, Dr. C. Othello Brandy, asserted that the passage of the Land Rights Act into law will set the foundation for correcting some of the injustices that were meted against the indigenous people in the past.
“It is an opportunity for us to use this to correct some of the injustices in our society; the lack of assets of the majority of some of our citizens to land.
The fact that over a hundred and sixty years, we never recognized the rights of our citizens, the indigenous people to own the land on which they reside,” he said.
“But we give them user right; but not ownership so that when concession comes into those areas, we remove them from on the land sometimes without compensation,” Dr. Brandy intoned.
He disclosed that for the first time, the country has a land policy that recognizes land ownership in four categories: private, public, government and customary; describing the customary category as exciting, but challenging in that it provides the equal distribution of communal land in the community.
He, however, noted that the policy will only become effective when the land rights act is passed into law.
Dr. Brandy expressed hope that the act would be passed before the October Legislative and Presidential elections but admonished his colleagues to continue their advocacy to ensure the passage of the draft act.
“At the Legislature, there are people who are willing to work with us, but we have to do our part. If we lose this opportunity, we might never get the chance again. We need to double our efforts to make sure that this act is passed,” Dr. Brandy warned.
He lauded the effort of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Governance Commission for their effort towards the land reform process.
Also speaking, a representative of Welt Hunger Hilfe (WHH), Sahr Nouwah, reaffirmed his institution’s commitments toward supporting the efforts of the CSO working group in ensuring the passage of the Land Rights Act.
He asserted that the passage is very important to peace, food security and economic diversification