Compounds Demolished at Jabang

By Rohey Jadama
One compound and the cement block fence of four empty lands in theMr. Njie and his displaced family
village of Jabang in the West Coast Region were demolished by the Department of Physical Planning on Tuesday 10th March, 2015.
Speaking to this reporter, Sheikh Njie, one of the victims whose compoundwas demolished, said he had acquired his land from the Alkalo of the
village 9 years ago and who issued him with an ownership document. He
said he has been paying his yard rates to the Brikama Area Council
annually.
Mr. Njie said to his surprise one Sainey Colley is now claiming
ownership of his land.
He said on this fateful day “the Physical Planning, accompanied by a
personnel from the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) and the said Mr.
Colley, including a lady, came with the vehicle that demolishes
buildings and told him that they are there to pull his house down.
He said a notice from the Physical Planning department was given to
him on Thursday, 5 March, informing him that on Tuesday, 10 March,
they will be coming to demolish his house as he did not have a
development permit to erect a structure on the said land.
The notice he showed the reporter states “That being  satisfied that
the  building\fence/ described below has been erected without a
Development Permit and  without the prior approval of the Physical
Planning Authority Under  Development Control Regulations 1995/
declared unsafe/under the  provisions of the Development Control
Regulations,1995 and being  empowered to order its removal or
demolition under the provision of the  said regulations, the Planning
Authority orders the removal or demolition of the building/ fence.”
It further states that “upon  failure  on your  part  to comply  with
this  Notice,  the  Planning Authority will arrange for  the
building/fence to  be removed or demolished and charge the cost of
such removal or demolition to you”.
It also indicated that the nature of contravention is “Building on a
Disputed Land”.
Mr. Njie said this was not the first time the Physical Planning
department has been coming to his compound to demolish structures,
adding that the first was last year when they came and pulled down the
entrance of his house after Mr. Colley made his ownership claim.
He claimed that at the time he reported the matter to the Yundum
police and that Mr. Colley was arrested but one Mr. Saidykhan came
later and told the police that the order came from above thus leading
to his release.
Mr. Njie said he even wanted to take the matter to court but that the
elders of the village advised against it, arguing that it should be
resolved amicably.
“The first demolition exposed my family to the harsh weather
conditions and also dangerous reptiles such as snakes, because we were
sleeping in the open house as I did not have the means to raise the
wall again,” he said.
Mr. Njie, the desperate father of six children, including a baby,
appeals to the government to help his family as they have nowhere to
go to and are now spending the night outside.
However, Mr. Colley, who is alleged to have claimed ownership of the
said land, was tried on his phone several times but could not be
reached for his version. Foroyaa will continue with efforts to talk to
him to get his side of the story.
When the Physical Planning department was approached last week to get
the official version, Mr. Ismaila Kah, the deputy director, said he
was just resuming work from vacation and knew nothing about the issue,
adding that the director is presently out of the country.
Mr. Lamin Jawara of the Development Control Unit of Physical Planning
department said they are not mandated to speak to the press.