At least six towns and villages [out of nine] within B’hai and Gbao administrative districts, Gbarzon Statutory District, Grand Gedeh County have resolved to give out an encroached parcel of land for concession purpose. The parcel of land to be given, borders Liberia and Cote D’Ivoire, deep in the forest of Gbarzon, Grand Gedeh County.
The land in question has been encroached upon for the past four years by some Burkinabes and Ivoirians who have since claimed its ownership and are engaged in to livestock farming. The disputed parcel of land have been a bone of contention between locals and occupants.
The Government of Liberia (GOL) did little, or nothing to get the illegal occupants off its soil until 2015 when the (Burkinabes and Ivoirians) attempted to violently evict Grand Gedeans (Liberians) from the land.
This prompted the locals to threatened mass action against the illegal foreign farmers. Thus, compelling the Liberian Government to deployed soldiers of the Arm Forces of Liberia (AFL) int the disputed area.
Though, the deployment of the soldiers had brought some relieve to the local communities, especially those residing in B’hai and Gbao administrative districts, GOL through its Ministry of National Defense has repeatedly reminded locals of the troubled area that the soldiers are not on long term assignment and citizens should find possible peaceful means of protecting their land.
To this end, elders, chiefs, women, youths and opinion leaders of B’hai and Gbao administrative districts recently met in Dougee Town and agreed to petition Electoral District #3 Representative, Alex Chersia Grant to source a unique concession (preferably agriculture) company to invest in the area.
During the meeting citizens expressed optimism that when taken over by a concession, the land and other nearby forest of theirs will be protected and local communities shall accrued economic and social benefits. According to them, the benefits will include asphalt paved roads, modern schools and hospitals and trade among others.
Earlier, Gbarzon Statutory District Superintendent, Henry Zonway described the citizens’ decision as a positive step in the right direction. Lauding inhabitants of Dougee Town for their exceptional supportive role played in ensuring that the Burkinabes and Ivoirians left the troubled area, Zonway urged the people to remain united so as to achieve this goal.
For his part, Grand Gedeh County Electoral District #3 Representative, Alex Chersia Grant promised to expedite the processing of sourcing potential investor through an international competitive bidding process once he receive a petition from his constituents.
Representative Grant assured the citizens of his commitment to do all within his power to protect their interest, as their survivability and security are his utmost concern. “If it requires me spending my own money for the good of my people, I will do it with no regret,” he added.
Following several hours of discussions, delegates at the Dougee Town meeting constituted a high level committee to work with other towns and villages who did not commit to the petition [being prepared] on grounds that they have to return home and consult others. The committee is also expected to ensure that all towns and villages participate in the preparation of the petition and submit to Representative Grant for subsequent action.
-Edited by Othello B. Garblah