One month after signing a joint resolution with Sime Darby Plantation, calling on residents not to allow any third party on their land, citizens of Zodua, Grand Cape Mount County are reminding the company and Cape Mountaineers to remain committed.
Recently, the citizens told a team of reporters that their position remains the same. Part of the resolution says no third party would be allowed in the clan without their approval. Besides, Sime Darby cannot impose or allow any group into the land without a clear and defined understanding.
Chief MomoZodua said the resolution came about due totoo many groups that were entering their land to carry out various activities without their knowledge, saying “We have to come out with this resolution to help all of us.”
“We have agreed for Sime Darby to come and invest, but they should not impose on us. We heard last month that some NGO wanted to come to conduct workshop and whether SIME DARBY was aware, ” Augustine Sambola said.
According him, it is not bad, they must be told first in order to give greenlight. The Zodua resolution came out in an eight-count document. The citizens maintain that the land was given to Sime Darby to invest and also to prevent conflict.
“Whereas, the people of Zodua clan do realized that Sime Darby operations is helping our clan economically, socially and infrastructure wise;since the coming of Sime Darby into Zodua clan, the livelihood of our people is improving through job creation, especially for the young people who were unemployed and vulnerable,” they said in the resolution.
“Whereas, Sime Darby has recognized the customary, traditional, ancestry rights of our people to their land in keeping with the laws of the Republic of Liberia and other international bodies’ including the United Nations (UN) Convention on the rights of the indigenous to their land,” the citizens added.
The Chief was buttressed by a youth, Samuel Keade who said they were eager for the company to move in,but were however becoming impatient over delay in doing so. Their anger is due to the High Carbon Stock study which needs to be conducted by international group and SDPL.
“We the people of Zodua Clan including elders, traditional leaders, women group, youth and the ZoduaLand Committee (ZLC) do hereby unanimously resolved to reject collaborating with any legal organization on this and all future work in our clan in the spirit of keeping our clan united and peaceful. However, it is important to note that Zodua Clan will welcome a genuine partner to carry on any transparent work in its clan that will not divide the people within the clan,” they noted.
At the same time, the leadership and citizens of Zodua Clan had agreed to have three signatories on all correspondence to the Sime Darby Management. They said such signatures must include the Secretary of the Zodua Clan Land committee, the chairman of Zodua clan land committee and the General town chief of Zodua Clan, Garwula District.
Sime Darby Plantation Liberia signed a 63-year concession agreement with the Government of Liberia to develop 220,000 hectares of land in Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Gbarpolu and Bong counties, respectively into oil palm and rubber plantations. To date, approximately 10,000 hectares in Grand Cape Mount and Bomi counties have been planted with oil palm, according to the company.