A day-long awareness and training on Formalization of Customary Land has ended in Harper City, Maryland County with participants from across the county attending. The director of land policy and planning focus person Julius B. Kawa said Customary Land is land owned by a community and is used or managed, according to customs and tradition, including residential land, farmland, communal forestlands, and fallow lands.
He told participants the objective of the awareness and training is to serve as guidance to the authority and all stakeholders, including customary communities, civil society organizations, community based organizations, non-governmental organizations and partners on the processes in conducting boundary harmonization and confirmatory survey as well as ensuring that all required steps are fully complied with as provided and envisaged by relevant provisions of the Land Rights Act.
“My people let me inform you today that all Tribal Certificates will be verified through a serious validation process, involving the communities led by the Land Authority, people with valid Tribal Certificates have 24 months to finalize and complete the steps to obtaining a public land sale deed”, Director Kawa explained. He said the best way to avoiding land conflicts across the country, is for citizens to have clear understanding of the Land Right Act.
Gender & Women officer of the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) Ms. Olivia K. David said, women in Liberia also have right to land ownership just like their male counterparts. She informed participants during the training specifically women, that they have right to a share in their father or mother’s land.
“Women can own land by themselves; women can also own land along with others such as their husbands, brothers and sisters because land is the basis for food security, income, wealth, power/voice, status, heritage and identity”, she stressed.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Chief Nelson Neal, who heads the traditional leaders of Maryland County, lauded the LLA for the level of knowledge provided them.
“As we leave from here today, we will spread the information to the others who didn’t attend the training”, Chief Neal noted. Though the Land Authority has been providing awareness about the Land Right Act, the county had suffered series of land conflicts.
In recent time, there has been increase of land conflicts in three counties: River Gee, Grand Kru and Maryland that led to intervention by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but up to present, the disputes are yet to be resolved.
By Patrick N. Mensah, Maryland–Editing by Jonathan Browne